ALBANY - An Amsterdam man arrested last year, accused of possessing drugs in his clothing and then a false-bottomed Clorox container has pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said.
Edwin Rodriguez, 31, of Amsterdam, pleaded guilty this week to possessing and intending to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, prosecutors said.
Rodriguez faces at least five years and up to 40 years in prison at his June sentencing. His final term will be decided then.
The federal case stemmed from a traffic stop by Amsterdam police May 15, authorities said.
Amsterdam officers pulled Rodriguez over and learned that he did not have a valid driver's license. When asked if he had any drugs on him, he handed over what he said was marijuana, an affidavit filed earlier read.
But he also allegedly kept reaching for his pants.
"As officers arrested Rodriguez for unlicensed operation of a vehicle, a vacuum- or heat-sealed bag containing a white powder dropped out of his pants," the affidavit read.
As part of his plea, Rodriguez admitted that he was stopped while driving to meet a drug customer to whom he planned to sell 100 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, prosecutors said.
During the stop, Rodriguez also allegedly claimed to officers that he lived in the Bronx. He traveled to Amsterdam occasionally to visit his wife, the earlier affidavit read, "and claimed not to know where his wife lived in Amsterdam."
The DEA then obtained a search warrant for his Amsterdam apartment, where investigators determined he resided. Inside, agents found the Clorox bottle with a hidden compartment. Inside the compartment with 1.78 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, the affidavit read.
Close by the false-bottom bottle, investigators also found items connected to the drug trade, including unused similar envelopes, a powder that is a known cutting agent and a vacuum or heat sealer with two roles of plastic wrap, the affidavit read.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Amsterdam Police Department and is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.