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Deputies: Wrong license plate on wrong car leads to drug bust

Wilson Rivera arrested after deputies say they seized 2.2 ounces of meth

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – The wrong license plate on the wrong car led to a substantial drug bust, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said.

Wilson Rivera, 20, of Interlachen, was arrested on multiple charges, including trafficking in methamphetamine, which is a first-degree felony. 

Last week, according to the Sheriff's Office, deputies stopped a Chrysler PT Cruiser -- with a license plate registered to a Honda coupe out of Largo, Florida -- on Putnam Avenue in Interlachen.

As deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver, identified as Rivera, sped off down a dirt road, but the vehicle eventually got stuck in soft sand, the Sheriff's Office said.

During a search of the vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Office, deputies found 2.2 ounces of methamphetamine. News4Jax sources said crystal meth has a value of $500 to $800 if sold by the ounce in Putnam County. The street value in grams is $2,800. 

"More than 14 grams of methamphetamine is defined by state law as trafficking," the Sheriff Office said in a Facebook post about the arrest. 

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said something as simple as randomly running plates has led to many drug busts and breaks in criminal cases. 

"Whenever they run a tag and it comes up with a criminal offense, they have probable cause to pull that car over. It will either say the tag is registered to that vehicle and the owner's name or it will say it’s not registered there. It could be stolen," Jefferson said. "There are all sorts of things it could lead up to."

Deputies said they also found more than $100 in cash, along with a small amount of marijuana, two cellphones and a knife. 

Deputies told News4Jax that the case is still under investigation, which means Rivera is either facing more charges or more arrests could be looming. 

Rivera was booked Sept. 17 into the Putnam County jail, where he remained held on $53,200 bond as of Tuesday evening, according to online jail records.

If convicted on the trafficking charge alone, he could face up to seven years in prison. 


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