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FORT SMITH -- A woman arrested in Van Buren driving a car with nearly 76 pounds of methamphetamine told police the trip she was making from California to Atlanta was one of many she has made around the country to transport drugs, according to court records.

Rebecca Brenes, 43, and Jose Jimenez-Cruz, 27, were charged in a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute after they were arrested Jan. 31 after a traffic accident in Van Buren.

Federal court records show the two appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Mark E. Ford, who appointed attorneys to represent them. Brenes and Jimenez-Cruz were ordered detained after they waived their rights to probable cause and detention hearings.

During an interview with Van Buren police after her arrest, Brenes admitted she was transporting the methamphetamine and 243.7 grams, nearly 500 pills, of suspected oxycodone from Bakersfield, Calif., to Atlanta, according to a probable cause affidavit in the court records.

Brenes told police she was to be paid $5,000 to deliver the drugs, the affidavit said.

Brenes said she had made numerous trips transporting drugs around the country, including to Houston. The affidavit said she also had delivered heroin from Bakersfield to San Francisco, the affidavit said.

Questioned separately, Jimenez-Cruz said Brenes was his fiancee and that they were en route to Atlanta for the wedding of Brenes' sister, the affidavit said. Police said he later admitted knowing Brenes was transporting the methamphetamine.

According to the affidavit, he learned about the drugs as he drove the car through Arizona. He said he stopped the car, examined the drugs and continued driving.

Brenes was driving a 2018 Jeep Compass east on Interstate 40 about 12:40 a.m. Jan. 31 when she exited at Van Buren to buy gas, according to Van Buren police. As she was turning left at an intersection, her Jeep collided with another car.

Responding police learned from the dispatcher that Brenes was driving with a suspended driver's license, and she was arrested, the affidavit said. A search of the Jeep led to the discovery of a black suitcase in the back seat that contained the drugs.

Van Buren police called the arrest the largest for methamphetamine in the city's history and one of the largest ever in Arkansas.

NW News on 02/12/2019

Print Headline: Fort Smith police say suspect admits multiple drug hauls

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