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Man pleads not guilty to meth trafficking

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A Dexter man has pleaded not guilty to a drug trafficking charge.

Flabio Herrera, 26, entered the plea on one count of trafficking a controlled substance, distribution, narcotic or meth, when he appeared Monday via Google Meet at his arraignment in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, according to documents of the court proceeding.

Herrera was one of three people traveling in a red Mercury SUV stopped by police on Oct. 26, 2019 at 2:05 a.m. in the 800 block of West Mathews Street.

Police would later find methamphetamine in the SUV, along with large amounts of cash, marijuana, glass smoking devices and packaging materials, according to court documents.

Herrera and the driver of the SUV, Tasha Bravo, 30, of Roswell, were both arrested in July and charged with trafficking a controlled substance based on evidence seized from the vehicle.

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Bravo, who is also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, pleaded not guilty to both criminal counts against her at her arraignment in early December. Her trial is scheduled for March 30.

The stop was initiated, according to court documents, when the officer saw Bravo driving the vehicle. Weeks before he had contacted her about an invalid driver’s license which he found had been expired.

During the stop, the officer saw Herrera sitting in the front seat and thought he looked familiar. After learning Herrera’s name and that he was wanted on two outstanding warrants, the officer ordered him out of the vehicle and placed him under arrest.

When the officer searched Herrera, he found $598 on his person. According to court documents, he also spotted what appeared to be marijuana stems in the front passenger side of the SUV.

Packages of methamphetamine, according to court documents, were later found in two bags in the back seat as well as in a slot in the door of the driver’s side of the vehicle when police searched it after obtaining a search warrant.

One cellphone found in the vehicle, with the name “Flavio” on the device, also reportedly contained text messages from what appeared to be an Oct. 26 drug deal.

Photos of two receipts sent to Chihuahua, Mexico were also reportedly found in the phone: one for $600 and another for $900.

On Monday, Judge Thomas Lilley scheduled Herrera’s jury trial for Feb. 16.

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