Cocaine Trafficker Flees Scene, Leaves Ankle Monitor on Cat

By Zachary Siegel 04/29/15

A man charged with cocaine trafficking fled his residence and left poor fluffy holding his GPS monitor.

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A Mexican citizen is facing U.S. cocaine trafficking charges is being tracked down by federal agents after he removed a court-ordered GPS monitor bracelet from his ankle and slapped it on his cat, a stunt which allowed him to abscond from his Virginia residence.

Last New Year’s Eve, Diego Martinez-Espinosa was arrested for attempting to receive 19 kilos of cocaine. At the time of his arrest, Martinez-Espinosa told a DEA agent that he was residing in the United States illegally.

Martinez-Espinosa, 23, was then charged with felony narcotics conspiracy in Virginia state court. He was not put on an immigration detainer but was instead granted bond and required to wear the GPS device “so that his whereabouts could be tracked,” according to court records.

After receiving a series of alerts indicating that the ankle bracelet was being tampered with, investigators determined Martinez-Espinosa was not tinkering with the monitor but was indeed wearing it and within the designated area of either work or home.

According to a sworn affidavit signed by DEA agent James Terpening, the continued warnings emitted from the ankle monitor were believed to be a device malfunction. It is now clear to investigators that Martinez-Espinosa was fixing the device to his cat's ankle just before fleeing his residence.

Martinez-Espinosa is currently being hunted by federal marshals who have are aware of the fact that he has several contacts in North Carolina. If apprehended, he will face not only the original trafficking count, but also state charges for violating the conditions of his release, as well as the federal flight charge.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.