Austin man allegedly caught with over 11 pounds of fentanyl in his car battery

A K9 reportedly alerted officers to the fentanyl during a vehicle inspection

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Austin police arrested a man last Friday after allegedly finding more than 11 pounds of fentanyl hidden inside one of his car batteries during a traffic stop. 

Luis Garduno Sanchez, 25, is charged with delivery of a controlled substance greater than 400 grams – a first-degree felony, according to an arrest affidavit.  

A booking photo for Luis Garduno Sanchez.

A booking photo for Luis Garduno Sanchez. (Austin Police Department)

Officers pulled over a white Chevy SUV on the service road of East U.S. Highway 290 on July 8 after it changed lanes without using a turn signal, the affidavit said. 

Officers identified Sanchez as a passenger in the SUV. They said the driver appeared nervous while getting the driver’s information. 

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A K9 alerted officers to a "narcotic odor" during an inspection of the vehicle. Officers arrested Garduno Sanchez and the driver. 

Upon further inspection of the vehicle, officers found a battery in the back of the vehicle. The officers removed a cover from the top and found large bundles, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by KXAN. 

Investigators scanned the battery with an x-ray and opened the bundles to find "a white powdery substance" – material that was later tested positive for fentanyl, the affidavit said. Officers said the amount discovered was "the equivalent to over 5 million dosage units." 

The identity of the driver has not been released. It was not immediately clear whether Garduno Sanchez has retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf. 

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Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid drug that has been blamed for a nationwide spike in overdose deaths, More than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses over a 12-month period last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with about two-thirds of those deaths linked to fentanyl and other synthetic drugs.