A suspected drug dealer living under house arrest in Highland Springs, Virginia, gave the Chesterfield County sheriff’s department the slip by strapping his GPS tracking device onto his cat, reports NBC News.
Diego Martinez-Espinoza was accused of involvement in an attempt to manufacture, sell, give or distribute more than 10 kilos of cocaine he had concealed in the drum of a dryer, according to a WTVR-TV report on April 22. He was also allegedly in the U.S. illegally.
He was awaiting trial on charges of possession of more than 40 pounds of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to a complaint the Drug Enforcement Administration filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, the NY Daily News reports.
Martinez-Espinoza was required by the judge to wear a GPS monitor which pinged every few minutes to confirm that he was at his home in Highland Springs. He was reportedly scheduled for trial on May 6.
According to court documents, in February, authorities monitoring the GPS received a “strap-tamper” alert and realized he was traveling south. But when they contacted him, he sent them a text with an image of himself wearing the device.
It happened several times, according to DEA documents, so the unit, which is supposed to be recharged three hours a day, was replaced. Authorities believe Martinez-Espinoza tampered with the tracker so that police would hold the believe that the GPS unit was continually malfunctioning, NBC News reports. Thus, when the tracker ran out of power on March 1, Martinez-Espinoza's monitors didn't immediately go to check on him.
Instead the next day (March 2), authorities asked the landlord to check on Martinez-Espinoza. The landlord went to the property on Buffalo Road and discovered that Martinez-Espinoza was gone but he had left behind his cat, wearing the tracker.
Authorities believe the fugitive has left Virginia and may have already fled the country. He is known to have acquaintances and possibly a girlfriend in North Carolina.
Diego Martinez-Espinoza is described as a Mexican National, 24 or 25 years old, 5 feet, 4 inches tall;,weighing 185 pounds, with short dark hair.
Anyone with information as to his whereabouts is asked to call 1-877-WANTED-2
Photo Source: Provided Image, Fox13