Police stop van after seeing baby wasn’t in car seat, find 24 pounds of meth

Police stop van after seeing baby wasn’t in car seat, find 24 pounds of meth
Photo of the methamphetamine police say was found inside the van. (Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team)

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — Officials with the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team say they found 24 pounds of methamphetamine during a recent traffic stop in Lewis County.

Police said they pulled over a van on I-5 North after seeing that a female passenger had a baby on her lap in the front seat, clearly unrestrained.

Police said the van was rented out of California and was being driven by Gabriel Angel Diaz-Noriega, a resident of Mexico.

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According to police, a K-9 unit was deployed after the people inside the van appeared nervous and gave different stories.  

Police said the K-9 gave a positive alert and they obtained a search warrant for the van.

While searching the van, police said they found a non-factory compartment in the floorboard which contained what later weighed out to be 24 pounds of methamphetamine.

Police said a passenger, identified as California resident Norberto Becerra, was seated above the methamphetamine.

Becerra later explained in an interview that the drugs were supposed to be delivered to a person in Washington, police said.  

The woman who was riding in the passenger seat and three small children were released.

Police said Becerra and Diaz-Noriega were booked into the Lewis County Jail and both had bail set at $100,000.

Police said Becerra had posted bail and had a hearing scheduled for Thursday.

JNET is made up of members of the Centralia Police Department, the Chehalis Police Department, the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Drug Enforcement Agency.