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FEDERAL JUDGE UPHOLDS DRUG SEIZURE

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A federal judge has upheld an I-70 traffic stop and 10-pound cocaine seizure during which the suspects were handcuffed at gunpoint before the drug was found.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich planned to appeal.U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene ruled the December 1994 arrest of Pedro Castillo, a bartender from Los Angeles, and Manuel Barragan, who was in this country illegally from Mexico, was valid.

He said a Utah Highway Patrol trooper was justified in pulling them over after their car weaved from lane to lane on I-70 in Grand County.

Yengich and defense lawyer Manny Garcia contended their clients were pulled over because they are Hispanic. They contended that once the trooper determined Castillo, the driver, was not impaired, he should have let the men go.

Greene also said trooper Darrell Mecham had probable cause to make a drug search. The men gave conflicting information about their destination and Mecham noticed alterations that suggested the car had a concealed compartment, Greene said.

Yengich and prosecutor Bruce Lubeck agreed the case was rare because the suspects were handcuffed and held at gunpoint before any contraband was found.

The defendants could face about 10 years' imprisonment if convicted. They have been held without bail since their arrest.

Barragan has a 1988 conviction for drug dealing and Castillo has a 1985 conviction for marijuana trafficking, court records show.