Traffic stop yields four pounds of meth


Luck wasn’t on the side of a Marshalltown man who was arrested on St. Patrick’s Day for transporting approximately four pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle.

According to Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman, a sheriff’s deputy was working a special traffic enforcement project Saturday afternoon when he observed a vehicle traveling on Highway 14 northbound just outside of Laurel. The vehicle was seen crossing the center line and had an illegible license plate.

The deputy, Hoffman said, stopped the vehicle a short distance later and the driver, Alejandro Sandoval, 33, was also found to have a suspended license.

But the traffic violations proved not to be Sandoval’s only bit of bad luck — the deputy discovered the large quantity of methamphetamine inside the vehicle, as well as $3,700 in cash and MSM — a joint supplement for animals that is sometimes used as a cutting agent in drug distribution.

Hoffman said the estimated street value of the methamphetamine is valued anywhere from $40,000 to $160,000, depending on how the drugs were to have been distributed.

Sandoval was arrested and booked into the Marshall County Jail where he was charged with intent to manufacture and/or deliver meth of more than 5 grams but under 5 kilograms; failure to affix drug tax stamp; driving while suspended; driving on the wrong way of a two-lane highway; failure to maintain registration plate; and having no valid driver’s license.

Sandoval’s run-in with law enforcement on Saturday is not his first.

According to court records, he has a long history of criminal activity including multiple drug, weapon, traffic and probation violation convictions, dating as far back to when he was a teen-ager.

And this latest arrest does not mean the investigation is over, Hoffman said, adding his office is continuing to look further into this case, along with assistance from the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force the Marshalltown Police Department.

Sandoval remains jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond.


Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or