A man accused of attempting to traffic drugs from El Paso, Texas to Chicago was in federal court Thursday in Texarkana.
Coleman Tuton was arrested by an Arkansas State Trooper November, 6 2014 after the Tornado bus he was riding was pulled over for following too closely. According to a federal criminal complaint that was used to create this account, the traffic stop occurred near the eastbound 18 mile marker on I-30.
The driver of the bus told the trooper that the bus had four passengers going to Milwaukee, traveling from south Texas. The passenger manifest reflected the passengers were actually going to Chicago.
Due to south Texas and Chicago being very popular origins and destinations for drugs, the driver’s nervousness, and the trip not appearing to be cost effective to travel cross country with only four passengers, the trooper asked for consent to search the bus. The driver gave consent.
The trooper found a black suitcase that appeared to have a possible false compartment at the bottom. The tag on the bag identified the owner as Tuton.
The trooper made contact with the four passengers inside the bus and requested their identification.“Tuton was only one of four passengers on the bus and was the only passenger on the bus that appeared nervous,“ the complaint states.
Tuton stated he was going to Chicago to pick up a car from an auto auction but did not have any paperwork for the car. Tuton told the trooper that he had a friend who lived there and they were going to drive the two cars to Mexico.
The trooper asked why he wasn’t flying to Chicago, he stated that he could not afford it. Tuton told the trooper the bus ticket was $192.00. “Tuton could not explain how he could afford the bus ticket, but not the plane ticket which was cheaper,” the complaint says.
“The K-9 strongly indicated the odor of narcotics in the luggage area, but wasn’t able to give a final alert due to the overwhelming odor.”
The trooper conducted a probable cause search of all the bags in the luggage area and found five packages of cocaine in the false compartment of the bag that allegedly belonged to Tuton.
According to the complaint after being read his Miranda warnings Tuton admitted he was transporting three kilograms of cocaine to Chicago.
In a follow up interview Tuton allegedly admitted to a DEA special agent that he had picked up the piece of luggage in El Paso, Texas and would be paid $3,000 to transport it to Chicago.
“TUTON admitted that he had transported another three kilograms of cocaine to Chicago, Illinois in October, 2014. TUTON had been paid $3,000.00 for that trip,” states the DEA special agent in the complaint.
Tuton appeared January 8, 2015 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant. Tiffany Fields was appointed Tuton’s federal public defender. Tuton was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshall Service.