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Two charged in Glendale drug bust

Pair arrested with 40 pounds of meth in routine traffic stop Friday.

July 24, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Two San Jose men pleaded not guilty Tuesday to transporting an estimated $2 million worth of methamphetamine that was sniffed out by a Glendale police dog during a routine patrol stop Friday, officials said.

Carlos Gutierrez and Andres Perez, both 36, were charged Tuesday with one felony count each of sale or transportation of a controlled substance along with an allegation that the drugs exceeded 10 kilograms, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Glendale police officers reported finding 40 pounds of meth packed into the side panels of the Toyota the men were driving.

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Prosecutors requested that bail for the men be set at $500,000 each.

Detectives were still working to identify the source of the drugs, including whether they were manufactured in a "super-lab" in the Central Valley or if they were transported out of Mexico, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Police stopped the pair about 2:45 p.m. Friday in a 2002 Toyota Solara on the Foothill (210) Freeway near La Tuna Canyon Road after noticing its windows were tinted, according to Glendale police. That's when police discovered Gutierrez had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for allegedly failing to appear in court.

Perez claimed that he was doing a friend a favor in Bakersfield and borrowed the Toyota to drop off a large amount of fruit at a relative's home, police said.

He allowed officers, along with police dog Branko, to search the Toyota.

After Branko reacted to several areas in the Toyota, officers began searching its interior and found 1-pound clear plastic bags containing methamphetamine hidden in the side panels of the rear passenger area.

Perez and Gutierrez reportedly denied any knowledge of the drugs. They were arrested on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance. Police also seized their cell phones, wallets and nearly $1,900 in cash.

Officers also found various dollar amounts scribbled on piece of paper that police said may have been used to keep track of drug transactions.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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