Two men charged in connection with cocaine trafficking in southwestern Iowa made an initial appearance Monday in front of a federal magistrate in Council Bluffs. Judge Ross A. Walters presided over the hearing for 58-year old Bernardino Rivera and Daniel Tavizon via the Iowa Communications Network from Des Moines.
Rivera and Tavizon face charges of possession with the intent to deliver 108-pounds of cocaine, with a street value of nearly 1 million 37,000 dollars. Tavizon faces an additional charge of conspiracy to deliver cocaine. The arrests were made following a traffic stop on Interstate 80 in Cass County, during the evening of August 5th.
Officials say when an Iowa State Patrol trooper pulled over — for several moving violations — a recreational vehicle with Arizona license plates, being driven by Rivera, he reportedly began acting nervous. The trooper asked, and was given permission to search the vehicle.
Inside, he discovered several containers of a substance believed to be cocaine. The R-V and its contents were brought to the fire station in Atlantic, where an inventory was conducted. In addition to the drugs, officials recovered approximately $3,000 dollars cash. The judge set August 29th as the date for Rivera’s preliminary and detention hearings. Authorities are also looking into whether he entered the country illegally.
Because of a language barrier and the lack of an interpreter during Monday’s proceedings, Tavizon was ordered transported to Des Moines, where he is scheduled to appear today in federal court, in front of Judge Harold Vietor. Authorities say the investigation into the incident is on-going and additional arrests are possible.