First Day of Three Day Drug Trial Begins

CLEARFIELD – The joint trials for two men accused of possession of a large amount of cocaine began Monday morning at the Clearfield County Courthouse.

Trooper Brett Hanlon was the first to take the stand. He testified that on Oct. 18 he was returning from DuBois when he noticed a truck on I-80 that had a loose strap and a license plate that was concealed in one area. Hanlon pulled the vehicle over eventually. Hanlon testified that the driver of the vehicle, Arnulfo Perez Uresti, appeared at the rear of the truck with all of his necessary paperwork before the trooper exited his vehicle. Hanlon said that he thought that was odd.

Hanlon said that Uresti told him he had a passenger in the truck as well. That passenger is the co-defendant in the case, Hugo Francisco Leal-Flores. Hanlon gave Uresti a written warning and told him he was free to leave. Before Uresti left Hanlon asked him if he would answer some questions about his trip. Hanlon said he learned that Uresti was running steel cable from Texas to New Jersey, with a stop-over in Chicago, and then returning from New Jersey to Texas with more steel cable. 

Hanlon said it did not make sense to him to travel halfway across the country to drop off steel coils and then return with more steel coils. Hanlon also testified that the truck did not belong to Uresti. According to Hanlon Leal-Flores’ brother owns the trucking company.

Hanlon said he asked Uresti if there was anything illegal in the truck, such as drugs or weapons or large sums of cash. Hanlon said that when he mentioned drugs, Uresti looked up and away from him.

A consent to search was received from Uresti and Hanlon and his narcotics dog, Brenda, conducted a search of the vehicle. Brenda did not detect any narcotics, according to Hanlon. He added that regardless of Brenda’s search, he always conducts a hand search of the vehicle.

During the search, Hanlon and another trooper searched a compartment in the cab. under various tools, tarps and straps Hanlon said he discovered a box that was painted the same color as the floor. Hanlon said that inside there were multiple packages of drugs.

Once the men were arrested and the truck was taken to the barracks, a search warrant was obtained. Hanlon said that during the search he spoke with Leal-Flores. He said the Leal-Flores indicated that there were drugs in another part of the vehicle. Hanlon said that troopers then found two more packages hidden behind a wall panel.

Defense attorney Steve Jarrett began his cross examination of Hanlon before the afternoon lunch break. Testimony will pick up at 1:30. Keep reading GantDaily for updates on the trial as they are available.

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