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Thousands in pills, cash & marijuana busted by Narcotics Task Force

A narcotics surveillance operations netted thousands of pills, tens of thousands in cash and pounds of marijuana, authorities said.

The Jefferson County Narcotics Task Force was conducting surveillance on suspicious vehicles on Major Drive near Willow Bend at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday, when deputies noticed erratic driving from two vehicles that appeared to be traveling together.

A Lexus car and Ford van exited the roadway, cut across private property to avoid an intersection and then got back onto the roadway.

Task force deputies and a K-9 unit stopped the two vehicles.

The van was driven by 45-year-old Francisco Saldana of Cypress. There was a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the van and upon searching the van, three large suitcases and a box were discovered containing hydroponic marijuana.

Francisco Saldana

Saldana was arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility and booked in for possession of marijuana.

The Lexus, driven by 29-year-old Michael Tran of Beaumont, also had a strong odor of marijuana. Upon searching the vehicle, a hidden compartment was discovered that had been fabricated in the vehicle.

Michael Tran

Once the compartment was opened it was found to contain 6.4 pounds of hydroponic marijuana and three large plastic packages containing 3,000 pills.

Some of the pills are suspected to contain Fentanyl and some to have methamphetamine.

They will be tested by the Jefferson County Crime Lab.

Tran was found to have $1,522 cash in his pocket and had $48,800 in a back pack concealed in the hidden compartment of the vehicle.

Tran was also arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility and booked in for possession of marijuana.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated.