Extent of Drug Enforcement Effort!

Extent of Drug Enforcement Effort!
Posted by FoM on January 16, 1999 at 12:59:03 PT

It was supposed to be just another busy Labor Day weekend in North Florida. But in less than 24 hours, Highway Patrol Trooper Richard Blanco would find himself strapped into the cockpit of an Air Force cargo jet delivering illegal drugs to New York City. 
It was 1993, and Blanco was part of a four-man drug interdiction team patrolling Interstate 95 near Jacksonville. About 1:30 Saturday afternoon, one of the officers pulled a U-Haul truck over for a traffic violation. Blanco and his partner were nearby and rolled up just as the U-Haul came to a stop. After the driver and passenger gave conflicting stories, the officers gained consent to search. Opening the cargo space, they found about $3 million worth of cocaine. The driver and passenger were arrested and the local office of the Drug Enforcement Administration was contacted. Before long, the two couriers agreed to deliver the drugs to New York City, leading police to the main dealer. By the time DEA got clearance for the delivery, it was almost midnight. Even driving straight through, they'd never get there on time, and that could make the New York dealer suspicious. So a DEA agent called the Air Force and the Navy to see if either had an airplane in Jacksonville that could handle the truck. Blanco couldn't believe it. An airplane? The best they could find was a C-141 cargo jet -- the second largest cargo jet in the military -- based at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C. They loaded the driver, the passenger and the U-Haul into the plane. Blanco and his partner rode in the cockpit. Once they arrived, the trap went off without a hitch. Four people were arrested, two from Miami and two from New York In his 19 years of police work, no single event has stuck in Blanco's head like this one. ``It was unbelievable,'' he says. ``It was a real team effort.'' 
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