A recent traffic stop led to the seizure of more than $500K in illegal drugs, thanks to the hard-working Weld County Sheriff's K9 team.

On the morning of August 30, Deputy Brian Fortin and his K9 partner, Loki, were called to assist the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) with a traffic stop near Weld County Roads 49 and 42. The CSP had pulled over a white pickup truck and suspected the two men inside were trafficking narcotics. The men were identified as Arturo Mercado and Jesus Arturo Gonzalez.

Once on the scene, Loki performed an open-air sniff of the exterior of the pickup truck. Loki alerted officers that drugs were in the vehicle, so both men were placed into custody while troopers and deputies searched inside.

During the interior search, law enforcement located 88 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $528,000. A majority of the meth was found hidden inside the truck's spare tire, and some was also packed into a suitcase that was in the backseat.

According to the sheriff's office, the traffic stop was part of a broader investigation into a drug trafficking operation taking place in Weld County. Four days after the traffic stop, the Weld County Drug Task Force executed five search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of nearly 5,000 fentanyl pills, 100 pounds of meth, a pound of cocaine, weapons, and approximately $250,000 in cash. An additional search warrant was carried out by the WCSO at a property in the 2300 block of 49th Street in Evans, which yielded another two pounds of meth and an illegal grow operation with more than 100 marijuana plants.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff's Office at 970-356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.