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Woman pleads not guilty to drug trafficking charge

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A woman reportedly found with illegal drugs in her vehicle during a traffic stop in Roswell has pleaded not guilty to a drug trafficking charge.

Tasha Bravo (Submitted Photo)

Tasha Bravo, 30, of Roswell, waived formal reading of charges and pleaded not guilty to one count of trafficking by possession with intent to distribute when she appeared Monday via Google Meet at an arraignment in New Mexico 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, according to court documents.

Charges originate from the alleged discovery of methamphetamine and marijuana, along with smoking devices and packaging materials, in Bravo’s red Mercury SUV following an early morning traffic stop on Oct. 26, 2019 in the 800 block of West Mathews Street.

Flabio Herrera, 25, of Dexter, who was one of two men in the vehicle with Bravo, was arrested that night during the traffic stop on two outstanding arrest warrants. Court documents state Herrera was subsequently charged with one count of trafficking a controlled substance, distribution, narcotic or meth.

Bravo and Herrera were later both arrested in September on outstanding warrants on the trafficking charges, based on evidence acquired after executing a search warrant on the vehicle.

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A Roswell police officer, court documents state, initiated the Oct. 26, 2019 stop after seeing Bravo driving the SUV. The officer had recently contacted Bravo about an invalid license which he later found had been expired.

When the stop was conducted and the officer explained the reason for the stop, Bravo allegedly conceded she knew she was driving with an expired license.

The officer then thought Herrera, who was seated in the front seat, looked familiar and ordered him out of the vehicle.

According to court documents, the officer then spotted what he believed to be marijuana stems and residue on the floorboard of the vehicle’s front passenger seat.

Asked at the time if she had marijuana or any other illegal drugs in the vehicle, Bravo, according to court documents, said she did not. She denied using any drug other than marijuana and refused to give consent for police to search her vehicle.

The officer, when he researched the criminal histories of Bravo and Herrera, found Bravo had two past convictions for felony-level possession of controlled substances, and was twice charged for being in possession of methamphetamine. It was also learned Herrera had a past felony-level conviction for possession of methamphetamine.

After obtaining a search warrant on the vehicle, court documents state two bags of methamphetamine — one weighing 29.7 grams and the other 5 grams — and a bag of marijuana were discovered inside a blue bag in the back of the vehicle.

State police also reportedly found two bags of what was confirmed to be methamphetamine — with a combined weight of 1.2 grams — and one bag of marijuana in a slot in the driver’s side door of the SUV.

According to court documents, three glass smoking devices were also found in the car, two in a pink bag that also contained cards bearing Bravo’s name and a third in the vehicle’s center console.

Investigators in Bravo’s case emphasized in court documents that based on the location of the methamphetamine in the driver’s side of the vehicle, they believed probable cause exists to show that the bags did belong to Bravo.

Judge K.C. Rogers, during Bravo’s Sept. 28 first appearance in Chaves County Magistrate Court, set her bond at $5,000 cash or surety, according to electronic court records. Bravo posted bond that same day.

District Judge Jared Kallunki at Monday’s arraignment scheduled Bravo’s jury trial in the case for March 30, 2021.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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