MPD nabs suspects traveling I-45 with load of narcotics

Posted 3/3/20

The Madisonville Police Department arrested three individuals following a traffic stop on Interstate 45 northbound early Saturday, recovering nearly seven pounds of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, 60 bottles of Promethazine, a firearm, $3,000 in cash and less than two ounces of marijuana.

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MPD nabs suspects traveling I-45 with load of narcotics

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The Madisonville Police Department arrested three individuals following a traffic stop on Interstate 45 northbound early Saturday, recovering nearly seven pounds of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, 60 bottles of Promethazine, a firearm, $3,000 in cash and less than two ounces of marijuana.

The suspects include 28-year-old Jonathan Gomez, 27-year-old Arthur Martinez, both of Dallas, and 27-year-old Clarence Mallard of Humble.

“This is a pretty massive hit right here,” said MPD Chief Herbert Gilbert. “The understanding is that this is not stuff that was going to land in Madisonville or Madison County, they were just passing through. But that is not to say this stuff was not going to be distributed.”

According to MPD officials, the street value of the ecstasy is estimated between $250,000-300,000 with the 60 bottles of Promethazine an estimated $20,000.

“(Ecstasy) is not a drug you really see frequently, it is more of a party drug,” said MPD Patrol Sergeant Jonathan Lawrenz. “According to some DPS buddies, the state police have not had this large of an ecstasy bust in about two years. Most smaller agencies do not get hits like this.”

Some of the pills were believed to be laced as they tested positive for meth as well as ecstasy.

Promethazine is an antihistamine often mixed with the opioid codeine to help create the popular recreational drug known as ‘Lean’. Due to risk of misuse, Promethazine is illegal without a prescription.

Each suspect was charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, penalty group 2 (four grams or more but less than 400), delivery of a dangerous drug and possession of marijuana (less than two ounces).

Gomez, who was driving the white 2008 Cadillac Escalade, was also charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and driving without a license.

All three individuals were released on bond Saturday. Bail for Martinez snd Mallard was set at $35,250 while Gomez’s was set at $35,750.

The vehicle was stopped near the 144-mile marker on I-45 North as a result of a defective license plate, according to MPD officials. The 144-mile marker is located halfway between the exits for State Highway 21 and State Highway 75.

The bust comes just over a month after a number of MPD officers attended a Highway Interdiction Training Specialist (HITS) Inc. course in San Antonio, which dealt with criminal patrol methods and drug interdiction on major roadways.

“They utilized the training they learned (during the HITS course), and it paid off,” said Sgt. Lawrenz. “Our Chief allows us to work drug interdiction to get busts like this.”

“We have four major highways that come through Madisonville,” said Gilbert. “Our plan is to send all of our officers to (HITS).”

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