Beaumont Enterprise, beaumontenterprise.com
BYLINE: BETH RANKIN
Jefferson County, TX
Police performing a traffic stop Thursday on Interstate 10 near Brooks Road found 80 kilos of cocaine hidden in an 18-wheeler's gas tank.
According to Ron Hobbs, chief deputy of the Jefferson County Narcotics Unit, officers initially noticed that the driver's account of where he had been was in conflict with the log books drivers are required to keep.
The driver, a 39-year-old man from Florida, consented to a search of his truck.
Once a K-9 unit arrived, the dog alerted officers to the presence of a substance in the truck. Noticing that one of the fuel tanks had recently been removed and reattached, officers removed the tank and found 80 kilos - roughly 176 pounds - of cocaine, Hobbs said.
The driver was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail on a charge of aggravated possession of a controlled substance.
Hobbs said the cocaine has a street value of $5 million.
In the past year, this is the third 18-wheeler traffic stop that has netted multiple kilos of cocaine, Hobbs said.
Lieutenant Tony Viator said there are a number of things he looks for when intercepting drugs on Texas highways. Trucks without loads or that are highly decorated or embellished stand out to investigators, he said.
And often, a suspect attempting to hide drugs from investigators will, during an interview, give police more information than necessary.
After the investigation is completed, unless their is a lien on the truck - or if it belongs to a company that was unaware it was altered to transport drugs - the truck will be sold at auction.
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