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Yasmani Varela-Portela
Courtesy of Iredell County Sheriff's Office

Man Jailed On Felony Drug Charges Following Traffic Stop

35-year-old Yasmani Varela-Portela of Miami, Florida, was arrested Tuesday (February 6) by Iredell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony counts of trafficking marijuana by possession and transport, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana, and maintain a vehicle for the sale of a controlled substance. He’s also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Tuesday, deputies with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) Team stopped a Ford car, with Florida plates, on Interstate 77 south near mile marker 59 for traffic violations. Deputies made contact with the driver, Yasmani Varela-Portela, who stated that he was traveling from Columbus, Ohio back to Miami, Florida. A K-9 Officer was called to assist with the stop. The K-9 indicated the presence of illegal narcotics.

Photo courtesy of Iredell County Sheriff’s Office

A search of the vehicle was conducted and deputies reportedly found 55 pounds of marijuana. After conducting records checks on Varela-Portela, it was determined that he is in the country illegally from Cuba. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Homeland Security Investigations Office who issued a Federal detainer on Varela-Portela.

Photo courtesy of Iredell County Sheriff’s Office

Varela-Portela was transported to the Iredell County Detention Center and jailed under $150,000 secured bond. He remained in jail as of earlier today (February 8). A District Court appearance is scheduled next Tuesday (February 13).