Cops find 144 lbs. of meth at KC home. Suspect fears murder by bosses in Mexico.

A Kansas City man has been charged with drug trafficking after police seized more than 140 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in four tires in a shed at his home, according to federal prosecutors.

Investigators were assisted in bringing the charge against Jorge Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 38, by a confidential source, who said they had bought a minimum of a kilogram of meth from him at least five days a week, police said.

The charge against Rodriguez-Gonzalez was filed this week in the U.S. Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Earlier this month, a detective and the confidential source drove near where Rodriguez-Gonzalez was thought to reside. The source identified Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s residence as a home in the 1300 block of Askew Avenue, pointing out the shed where it was believed the drugs were stored, according to court documents.

The source last week called Rodriguez-Gonzalez and set up a time to buy from him in Independence, court records show. Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s wife helped translate specific details on the call, which was recorded by investigators.

Detectives watched Rodriguez-Gonzalez as his wife drove him to the drug sale. They had two children, ages 6 and 3, with them in the SUV. Rodriguez-Gonzalez was then arrested, according to prosecutors.

Inside the red 1997 Nissan Pathfinder he was riding in, officers found a black handgun in an open purse between the front driver and passenger seats, police said.

A police dog indicated there were narcotics in the vehicle. The confidential source told police that Rodriguez-Gonzalez was known to have “elaborate hidden compartments” in his vehicles, an Independence street crimes detective wrote in an affidavit. The Pathfinder was towed to the police department.

After he was arrested, Rodriguez-Gonzalez indicated he was involved with people who would kill him if he were deported to Mexico, according to police. He allegedly said people there forced him to run the drug operation in Kansas City.

Pounds of meth found

Police executed a search warrant at Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s home and found a shotgun and an AK-style rifle in one bedroom, according to court records. Police also said they seized a bag containing 471 grams of purported marijuana, what appeared to be a drug ledger, and cash.

1300 block of Askew Avenue
The 1300 block of Askew Avenue in Kansas City, where police believe Jorge Rodriguez-Gonzalez resided, can be seen in this April 2017 image from Google Street View. Google Street View

Inside a detached shed at the home, officers found four Toyota tires, which they described as abnormally heavy. They cut one open and found a metal compartment attached to the inside of the wheel, according to prosecutors. The compartment had meth inside, police said. Each wheel was then dismantled.

The officers found six packages of meth. The drugs weighed a total of 144 pounds, according to police.

Police also towed a Toyota Tundra and a GMC Sierra from Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s home after a police dog indicated there could be drugs inside, according to prosecutors. Both were towed pending search warrants.

Before his formal interview at police headquarters, Rodriguez-Gonzalez said the people he was working for would find out about his arrest and kill him, according to court records. He then said he would rather be killed in America because he would receive a funeral, police said.

Rodriguez-Gonzalez denied selling meth during the interview. He said he lived where the drugs were found, but he said he did not know how the tires got into his shed, according to court records.

Asked if his wife was involved, Rodriguez-Gonzalez said she “has absolutely nothing to do with this business,” according to court documents. She was released pending further investigation.

If convicted, Rodriguez-Gonzalez would face at least 10 years in federal prison. He did not yet have an attorney listed in public court records who could be reached for comment Wednesday.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.