It was early Wednesday morning when Jefferson County sheriff's deputies pulled over Ronald Bradford and Paula Bear along Interstate 10 in southeast Texas.
As soon as the deputies began talking to the pair, they both seemed "overly nervous," according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
They also had one too many stories when asked where they were going just after 2 a.m., when they were stopped "for a number of traffic violations" while heading east toward the Louisiana state line, the release said. Deputies say their stories didn't match.
That's when the deputies say they asked for Bradford and Bear's consent to search the vehicle. Bradford, who was driving, refused to give permission.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
So deputies called in a K-9 officer from the neighboring town of Port Neches. When the drug-sniffing dog alerted for the possible presence of narcotics, the deputies searched the vehicle.
According to the release, the gas inside the car with Idaho license plates tested positive for methamphetamine. But in this case, the drug was in its liquid form.
Once police removed the gas tank, they found that it had been altered, and the gas had been mixed with "approximately 16 gallons of liquid methamphetamine." Deputy Marcus McClellan, a Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman, told McClatchy that the 16 gallons of the drug weighed right at 100 pounds.
Bradford, 36, and Bear, 33, were booked into the Jefferson County Correctional Facility just before 3:30 a.m. They face felony possession charges, according to jail records. Bond amounts were not immediately listed for either suspect.
Wendell Campbell, spokesman for the DEA's Houston division, told KSAT in 2015 that liquid meth is usually mixed with gasoline or acetone in barrels, before those solvents are then boiled out of the mixture, leaving the drug to crystallize inside the barrel to be scraped out by drug dealers.
In March, Customs and Border Protection officials estimated that a seizure of 164 pounds of liquid meth in West Texas carried a street value of more than $3.9 million. According to those figures, the Jefferson County bust along I-10 was worth more than $2 million.