RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – Authorities say a routine traffic stop in western Colorado turned up almost 5 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $218,500.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy pulled a vehicle over on Interstate 70 on Saturday morning because the driver was weaving in and out of lanes and adjusting speeds erratically. The vehicle was impounded because the driver was unable to provide proof of insurance and his driving status had been revoked.

The drugs were found when deputies were taking inventory of the vehicle.

“This is actually a particularly large bust for us,” Jennifer Kelly with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said. “We’re all very excited we were able to get these drugs off the street.”

Driver Pablo Rene Avalos and passengers, Ruben Dario Gonzalez and Alexis Abigail (aka Alexis Montoya-Cazares), were arrested.

Jim Gearhardt with the Colorado Drug Investigators Association has busted many meth labs over the years, and while he says the number of labs in Colorado has dropped dramatically, meth use remains a nasty problem.

“We did help the DEA about three or four months ago with a seizure of 66 pounds of methamphetamine that came into Thornton,” Gearhardt said. “Methamphetamine is very much rooted into Colorado and metro Denver in particular.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Gearhardt says an ounce of cocaine is selling for $2,200, compared to an ounce of meth, costing less than $1,000.

“It’s very plentiful right now, it’s cheaper, and the high lasts longer,” he said.

The damage of meth addiction has been well documented in the faces of users.

“Their entire world revolves around methamphetamine,” Gearhardt said. “They start to commit other crimes.,This is very common, auto theft, identity theft.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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