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3 men held in NC after heroin found in spare tire

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GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - Three men from Charlotte are in custody in Gaston County after authorities said they found four pounds of heroin inside the spare tire of a car stopped on Interstate 85 by a state trooper.

The Gaston Gazette reports the trooper stopped the car because it was following too closely. After talking with the men, he got permission to search the car.

Other officers assisted in Monday's search, which turned up the heroin.

Authorities say 27-year-old Gerardo Beltran Rodriquez, 31-year-old Adolfo Guzman Lopez and 20-year-old Irving Eduardo Rodriquez-Munguia are each charged with two counts of heroin trafficking and one count of conspiring to traffic cocaine.

Court officials assigned each man a public defender. A District Court judge says the men could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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