Deputies seize $750K worth of meth

James Eric Freitas

VALDOSTA — Two men were found with nearly $750,000 worth of Methamphetamine during a traffic stop by the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office.

James Eric Freitas and Miguel Leslie Mora are charged with trafficking methamphetamine. 

Around 7 a.m. Thursday, deputies were parked along Interstate 75 when what they called a "suspicious vehicle" got off at Exit 13, heading into Valdosta. 

Sheriff Ashley Paulk said the vehicle was being driven erratically when the deputy conducted the traffic stop on Old Clyattville Road.

The deputy assigned to the Interstate Criminal Enforcement team noticed the people inside the vehicle seemed to be under the influence of some drug, Paulk said.

The driver was identified as Freitas and was asked by the deputy to get out of the vehicle.  

While Freitas was outside of the vehicle speaking with the deputy, the front seat passenger, later identified as Mora, jumped over from the front passenger seat into the driver’s seat and drove away, according to the report.

Mora drove a short distance on Old Clyattville Road before turning off of the roadway and through an overgrown field. He stopped at the edge of the woods and ran from the vehicle on foot, the report stated.  

After a brief foot chase and search, Mora surrendered himself to deputies and was taken into custody without further incident.  

A Sheriff’s Office canine was deployed in the area where Mora ran off and located about 16.5 pounds of Methamphetamine stuffed inside of a duffle bag yards away from the vehicle. 

The amount of meth has an approximate street value of $748,000, Paulk said.

Freitas was arrested at the original location of the traffic stop, and both individuals were taken to the Lowndes County Jail.

Deputies also found a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun that was under the driver’s seat of the vehicle. 

No one involved was injured from the incident, according to the report.

Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256

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