Members of a federal task force found 182 pounds of cocaine hidden inside a charter bus that traveled from Mexico to Wilmington, California authorities said Tuesday.
There were no passengers on the bus when the bust – conducted by the Department of Justice’s L.A. IMPACT task force – took place.
The drugs were found about 9 a.m. at an auto body shop after investigators tailed the bus from the San Ysidro border crossing about 4 a.m., said task force deputy director Carlos Mendoza.
The 83 kilos of cocaine were encased in foil in a 15-foot long hidden compartment above the left rear tire, blocked by the bus’ radiator, Mendoza said. The drugs went undetected during a sweep by border officers, he said.
Authorities believe the drug shipment is connected to Mexican cartels because of its size and the relative sophistication involved in hiding it, Mendoza said. It had an estimated wholesale value of $2.1 million and street value of $10 million, the DOJ said.
Police arrested Victor Fainz Miranda, Jaime Jimenez and Humberto Vazquez when they searched the business.
The DOJ’s IMPACT team made headlines last week when they arrested five men in a Hooters parking lot in Ontario after they allegedly tried to sell 53 pounds of methamphetamine. The men were allegedly linked to the Sinaloa cartel.