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Drug suspect, possibly traveling to NC, foils authorities using cat

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A man held on a drug charge in Virginia is on the run after he put his court-ordered GPS tracking device on a cat and vanished.

Diego Martinez-Espinoza, a Mexican national, was arrested on a drug charge and was ordered to wear a GPS device.

Investigators believe he took the court-ordered device off and put it on his cat.

Police told WTVR the cat likely spent a few days listening to the bracelet chirp.

After days of chirping the device notifies police and the GPS then tells the suspect to call police. This is how police know if the device has been tampered with.

“We call them and physically make them come in so we can look at it,” Henrico Sgt. Rick Garrison told WTVR.

Martinez-Espinoza was originally arrested for attempting to manufacture, sell, give or distribute more than 10 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride.

He was scheduled to go on trial May 6 and was ordered to wear the device until that date.

“The courts may order bond with GPS or GPS home incarceration,” Garrison, who explained how the devices work to WTVR. “We also place them on our work-release inmates.”

In February authorities called Martinez-Espinoza when they received a tamper alert. That's when he sent them a photo of himself wearing the GPS device.

According to DEA documents, this happened several times before going silent on March 1. When Martinez-Espinoza's landlord opened his apartment, he was gone and his cat was wearing the bracelet.

U.S. Marshals are now looking for Martinez-Espinoza. He is known to have contacts in North Carolina.

Anyone who may know where he is should call 1-877-WANTED-2.