Routine Traffic Stop leads to drug arrest

It’s likely that, at this moment, there is a man sitting in prison, craving sound legal advice, and thinking to himself, “Maybe I shouldn’t have been trafficking heroin on Interstate 93 … with illegal tints.”

A routine traffic stop by Trooper Daniel Dorion, triggered by overly tinted windows, became an incredible discovery. In Andover, Massachusetts on Saturday, August 18, 2012, at around 5pm, Dorion pulled over a blue Chrysler Voyager. The vehicle’s windows made it impossible for the trooper to see who was driving the car. Dorion explained this to the motorist.

The driver’s response?

He had no idea how dark his windows were.

“Too dark,” would have sufficed as a reply.

The Massachusetts tint law has been in effect since 1985. Windows must allow more than 35% of light in all sedans, vans, and SUVs. Non-reflecting tint is allowed on the top six inches of the windshield. The windows of the Chrysler in question completely blacked out the interior.

Upon request, the motorist submitted his identification. A license? Of course not. Who needs that when being pulled over? Instead, he provided a Maine State ID that identified him as Francis Rosario Caraballo. He also produced an identification card from Puerto Rico that appeared counterfeit to Trooper Dorion. The trooper then asked about the woman sitting in the passenger seat.

The driver’s response?

He had no idea who the woman in the car with him was.

The motorist said he had merely been ordered to pick the woman up from Jamaica Plain and
chauffer her to Lawrence. After a request from the trooper, the woman revealed that her license was in another purse. But her name was Mercedes Soto. She then submitted her purse to an inspection. $6,350 in cash and two bottles of prescription pills were found. One had no label. The other bore the name of a woman who was not in the vehicle, Altagracia Ortiz. Surprisingly, the trooper also found the mysterious woman’s real driver’s license in the purse.

After the pair’s arrest, fingerprinting revealed the motorist to be Luis Sanchez-Moreta, 38, of Lawrence. The passenger was Xiomara Ortiz, 48, of Jamaica Plain. The minivan was towed. Trooper Gary Mozuch and his drug-sniffing police dog, Jacco, then investigated the vehicle. The search had been justified because of Sanchez-Moreta’s nonsensical story about not knowing his passenger, and the driving violations on Ortiz’s license.

Fifty-four bags of heroin, amounting to just over six hundred grams and $50,000 in sales, were discovered in a compartment under the driver’s seat.

State police say that Sanchez-Moreta has been known to use at least eight aliases in his past. At the time of arrest, he also bore the burden of three open warrants. Xiomara Ortiz also carried an existing warrant in her name for trafficking cocaine.

Consequently, Sanchez-Moreta was charged with trafficking heroin, excessive window tint, failing to identify himself to an officer, and unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Ortiz is being held for trafficking heroin, refusing to identify herself to an officer, possession of a Class E drug, and failure to wear a seat belt.

Both suspects pleaded not guilty at their arraignments. Sanchez-Moreta’s bail was set at $750,000. Ortiz was handed down a bail of $500,000. However, because both suspects have had their bails revoked in cases that are currently open, neither would be released from confinement even after paying the penalty handed down by Judge Michael Brooks.

According to State Police spokesman, David Procopio, Sanchez-Moreta is also being investigated by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is believed that he had already snuck into the country illegally at least twice before from the Dominican Republican.

I can’t help but wonder.

Where does the Dominican Republic stand on tinted windows?


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