Pot Found Hidden in Truck Tires! 

Pot Found Hidden in Truck Tires! 
Posted by FoM on January 01, 1999 at 04:48:04 PT

A sloppy paint job and some high-tech equipment guided state patrol troopers to 640 pounds of Marijuana packed inside the wheels of an empty flatbed tractor-trailer truck headed for Arvada.
The discovery marked the second time in a week authorities found drugs hidden inside a vehicle belonging to Transportes DAR, a Del Norte, Mexico, trucking company, the patrol said.The latest find occurred Monday around 5 a.m. during a routine inspection by a state trooper at the Port of Entry on Interstate 25 in Trinidad.The driver's papers were not in order, said state patrol spokesman Ed A. Gawkoski.Upon further inspection, a trooper noticed the tires on the 1989 International truck were new and the wheel rims had been freshly painted white, with some paint splashed over the tires.Using a density-measuring device provided by the federal government, the trooper discovered the wheel rims were packed solid.A drug-sniffing dog named Chief reacted positively to the tires, so the trooper drilled through a tire rim and found marijuana.The driver, Jorge R. Aniles-Merino, 33, consented to the search, troopers said. He also agreed to drive the truck to Arvada, where the truck was supposed to be delivered. But no one showed.Aniles-Merino was arrested on investigation of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He is being held at the Las Animas County Jail.On Thursday, technicians at an auto body shop used drills and other power tools to dismantle the tires. Within 16 of the truck's 18 tires, they found 20 tightly packed 2-pound bricks of marijuana. Only the two front tires were drug-free, probably to enable the driver to maneuver, Gawkoski said.Troopers estimated the bricks had a street value of $960,000. Since Dec. 1, the state patrol has seized 1,709.5 pounds of marijuana on Interstate 25 in southern Colorado. They have also arrested 10 people and seized $21,300 in cash.State patrol Technician Jeff Goodwin said U.S. Customs officials are investigating another case involving marijuana seized from a Transportes DAR truck that crashed about a week ago on Raton Pass.
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