3 arrested on drug trafficking charges after firearms, 55 pounds of meth found in search

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Two Amarillo residents and another from Arizona were arrested on drug trafficking charges in late October. They were charged with conspiring to traffic meth after what court documents said was a car and home search that led police to find Fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Court documents described that Michael Raymond Tamayo, Van Tu-Lap Cao, and Saul Adan Valdez-Campos were arrested on Oct. 30, with drug charges filed against them on Nov. 1.

An Amarillo Police Department official testified that Oct. 30 saw a surveillance operation as part of “an ongoing criminal investigation into the Tamayo drug trafficking organization (DTO), suspected of trafficking methamphetamine in the Amarillo area.” A 2020 Dodge RAM pickup truck was reported to leave a home “of interest” on Shylana Avenue, and was followed by officers outside of city limits.

After officers called Potter County Sheriff’s Office deputies to pull over the pickup, it was stopped around 2 p.m. While a driver that introduced himself as Christopher Cortez talked with the deputy that pulled over the pickup, the K9 unit with the deputy sounded an alert that led to Cortez allowing a search of the vehicle.

In the spare tire, the deputy reported finding “two bundles of blue M30 pills wrapped in saran wrap…. 17 bundles of bulk US Currency wrapped in saran wrap in the same tire.” The pills were later identified as a kilogram of Fentanyl, enough that officers believed was consistent with someone distributing instead of using the drugs personally.

Cortez and Campos, according to the court documents, were later interviewed by other officers and admitted to coming from the house on Shylana Avenue, and told officers that Tamayo had been the source of the drugs found during the search of the pickup. Officers searched both people’s phones and found a photo they believed to be of the same tire in which the drugs were found.

Officers got a warrant for the home on Shylana Avenue that court documents said had both Tamayo and Cao as listed residents. The search led officers to find “multiple firearms, $150,914.13, approximately 21.5 kilograms of methamphetamine (55 pounds), scales, packaging, and a money counter.” Officers reported that those items were consistent with common contraband used during drug trafficking.

Upon being interviewed, officers said that Tamayo admitted that he had dealt over 300 pounds of methamphetamine in the Amarillo area since mid-2020. Tamayo said he got around 50 pounds of methamphetamine every two months, shipped using couriers from Arizona to his home, and that Cortez and Campos had used the garage of the home to load the drugs found in the pickup search into the spare tire.

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