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Local

California man arrested for drugs; $152,500 in cash found in false panel

PRINCETON — For the second time in a week, police have intercepted a large amount of drugs being transported through Bureau County by someone from California.

Alejandro Valencia Jr., 22, of Bakersfield, Calif., was found to be carrying more than 900 grams of fentanyl along with $152,500 in cash hidden in a false panel in his vehicle after a traffic stop by Tri-DENT at 1:52 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 80 westbound at milepost 47 about nine miles west of Princeton.

Valencia is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class X felony that carries a base sentencing range of 6-30 years in prison.

Bureau County State’s Attorney Geno Caffarini said Valencia told police he was driving from California to Detroit, Mich., to see family and was returning from that visit. However, just 36 hours prior to that, Valencia had been pulled over in Henry County driving eastward. He was given a warning during that traffic stop.

Valencia is held in Bureau County Jail on $500,000 bond, 10 percent of which he must post for release. Caffarini asked for $750,000 bond. Valencia’s attorney, Eric May, representing him through his private practice, requested $300,000, Caffarini said.

Valencia will next appear in Bureau County Circuit Court on Jan. 15.

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