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Five guilty pleas in ongoing Lubbock methamphetamine investigation

Updated: Nov. 8, 2016 at 3:06 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Three people listed as defendants in an ongoing methamphetamine distribution case pleaded guilty to federal drug charges Monday, according to U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Co-defendants Jonathan Lovato, Crystal Ann Alaniz and Arleen Theres Keithley -- ages 33, 44 and 36 respectively -- pleaded guilty to federal charges, adding to last week's guilty pleas by co-defendants Juan Carlos Lara-Ochoa, 24, and Jose Alberto Cibrian, 41.

On April 30 of this year, according to documents filed in the case, a Texas DPS trooper stopped a vehicle in Lubbock for traffic violations; Keithley was the driver, Alaniz was the passenger. Keithley was arrested for driving with an invalid license, and Alaniz was arrested on several outstanding warrants. Both were placed in the trooper's vehicle.

The vehicle's in-car video system recorded Keithley maneuver her hands and force a substance in a plastic bag from her bra. She then used her teeth to remove the item and toss it to Alaniz in the back of the police cruiser, where Alaniz hid the item in her pants.

Both women were transported to the Lubbock County Detention Center. When questioned, Alaniz initially denied being in possession of contraband, admitting later, "I have stuff on me." Alaniz was then searched and two plastic bags containing a substance Texas DPS Crime Lab confirmed as methamphetamine were found in her pants. She was also found to be in possession of two bags full of smaller plastic bags consistent with narcotics trafficking.

Two additional bags later confirmed to contain methamphetamine were found in Keithley's bra. Additionally, Keithley was found to possess $2,500 in small bills on her person. $2,000 cash and a digital scale covered in drug residue were found in Keithley's purse.

Texas DPS Crime Lab measured the amount of methamphetamine to be nearly 55 grams.

The case is being investigated by the police departments of Lubbock and Littlefield, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long is heading the prosecution.

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