Trio accused of returning for ditched drug duffel

Rafael Mauricio Flores, left, Abigail Moreira, Jimmy Roberto Leon

Three Californians involved in a Sunday afternoon crash near Talent face felony drug charges after they returned the next day for a duffel bag full of meth they’d allegedly tossed on the side of the freeway, according to Oregon State Police.

Abigail Moreira, 31, of Pasadena, Rafael Mauricio Flores, 36, of Los Angeles, and Jimmy Roberto Leon, 40, of Palmdale were arrested Monday for manufacturing, delivering and possessing methamphetamine. Police said they rode together from California with a duffel bag containing more than five pounds of meth, according to documents filed Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court by OSP.

At about 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Moreira allegedly drifted right in a rented black Infiniti Q50 luxury SUV, struck a disabled vehicle parked at the side of the road and crashed into a guardrail on northbound I-5 past milepost 22, according to police.

Once the SUV came to a stop, Moreira allegedly stepped out of the vehicle with a small black Nike duffel bag, climbed over the guardrail and threw the bag into tall blackberry bushes, a witness told police.

Firefighters told police that Moreira was over the guardrail near the bushes when they arrived, but Moreira allegedly denied throwing anything.

Moreira, Flores and Leon told police different stories about why they were traveling together.

Flores allegedly told police that Moreira was his girlfriend, and they left Los Angeles to celebrate an anniversary in Albany while his wife was out of town.

Moreira allegedly told police she was traveling with Flores and Leon to Eugene to see a friend, but that she didn’t know the friend, and Leon told police he was “going to see a friend” in Albany.

Although police say their stories didn’t add up, OSP released the trio from the scene Sunday. Moreira was cited for careless driving and failing to drive within a lane.

The next morning, an ODOT employee helped police find a Nike bag that fit witness descriptions from the roadside. Inside the bag, police say they found more than five pounds of crystal meth.

At 1:20 p.m. Monday, an OSP trooper spotted a rented red sedan at the side of the road where the crash occurred. Upon arrival, police found Leon inside the vehicle and Moreira at the side of the road carrying gloves and garden clippers.

Flores allegedly fled down the embankment into blackberry bushes. Talent police later found him hiding in bushes on the other side of Bear Creek “covered in leaves and blackberry thorns,” according to court documents filed by police. He allegedly told police he was looking for his phone.

Moreira, Flores and Leon each made appearance Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court. During the hearing, Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia set each suspect’s bail at $1 million, and ordered intensive conditions should they be released early, such as weekly check-ins and polygraph testing to verify compliance.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Moreira, Flores and Leon were still held in jail.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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