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Trooper finds pills hidden in car's air filter during Gregg County stop

By Jimmy Isaac
Oct. 6, 2011 at 11 p.m.

One of eight East Texans indicted this summer in a crack cocaine ring was jailed Thursday after a state trooper discovered more than 1,300 pills in the air filter of the man's car.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jacob Muehlstein noticed fresh smudges on the hood and later the air filter box of a vehicle he stopped on Interstate 20 shortly after 1 a.m. in Gregg County.

Muehlstein stopped the vehicle for following another vehicle too closely and having an improperly displayed vehicle inspection certificate, reports showed.

The driver of the vehicle, Brandon Ross Sterling, 25, of Longview, reportedly gave consent to search the vehicle, and Muehlstein found about 1,000 hydrocodone pills weighing 681 grams and about 300 Xanax pills weighing 80 grams in the air filter.

The trooper found a half-gallon container of codeine syrup weighing 2,347 grams in the back seat area, reports showed.

Sterling, nicknamed "Yo-Yo" according to court records, was among eight defendants - including six Gregg County residents - indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 4 in Tyler on conspiracy to distribute between 112 grams and 196 grams of crack cocaine in the region.

Sterling is awaiting trial in the case, along with: Clifford Ray Ward, 49, of Longview; Trevorris Rashomique Woodard aka B-1, 23, of Longview; Demarcus Donell Anderson aka C-Pooh, 33, of Tyler; Frederick Craig Tucker aka Fat Craig, 42, of Tyler; and, Anthony Dewayne Hollis aka Punkin, 38, of Gladewater.

If convicted on the federal charge, each defendant could face between five and 40 years in federal prison and up to $5 million in fines.

Because of his arrest Thursday, Sterling now faces three drug possession charges in Gregg County that carry between five and 99 years or life in prison upon conviction.



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