Turnpike Stop Finds Cocaine! 

Turnpike Stop Finds Cocaine! 
Posted by FoM on February 09, 1999 at 08:12:56 PT

In Chester County, 1,804 pounds of the drug were discovered. The street value topped $16 million. It started as a routine traffic stop, then turned into one of the state's largest drug seizures when a state trooper pulled over a tractor-trailer rumbling down the Pennsylvania Turnpike and found 1,804 pounds of pure cocaine, authorities said yesterday.
 State police and Chester County District Attorney Anthony Sarcione yesterday displayed 820 kilos, which they said had a street value of more than $16 million. The cocaine was neatly wrapped in plastic and packaged in crates with a shipment of the herb cilantro.This is the second case in the region involving cocaine and cilantro in the last five months. In September, neighbors in Horsham Township, Montgomery County, complained about the smell of rotting cilantro, leading police to discover 1,227 pounds of cocaine in a truck.The Chester County seizure, which occurred Sunday in Honey Brook Township, also comes in the wake of a 1.25-ton cocaine shipment discovered among frozen cauliflower last month in North Jersey. "This is huge," Sarcione said, staring at the cocaine, with pieces of fresh cilantro clinging to the wrap.Police piled the kilos chest-high at the Embreeville barracks, where it will be secured as evidence for trial."This is even big for the feds," Sarcione said."If it's not the biggest [ in Pennsylvania ] , it's right up there," said Special Agent Larry McElynn of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Philadelphia. "It's certainly in the top 10."In the last year, more cocaine has been coming into the Philadelphia area, McElynn said. After increasing enforcement decreased the amount of cocaine coming from the Caribbean, more drugs are coming from Colombia via Mexico, he said.Authorities believe Sunday's shipment came from South America, passed through New York, and was heading to an area west of Pennsylvania, said State Police Maj. Tyree Blocker."Pennsylvania is a pipeline for coke in the northeastern part of the United States," Blocker said. The investigation, he said, is continuing.The driver of the 53-foot Kenworth tractor-trailer, Jorge Luna, 40, of San Juan, Texas, remains in the Chester County Jail with bail set at $1 million.Authorities said Trooper Thomas Martinez was patrolling the turnpike when he spotted the truck heading west and erratically changing lanes near the Morgantown exit.After pulling the truck over, authorities said, the driver gave written permission to have the vehicle searched. The truck was taken to the Bowmansville barracks, where police dug through the cilantro to find the cocaine.Luna is charged with possession of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver. Blocker said that there were no other suspects associated with this shipment, but that investigators were trying to determine where the drugs came from and where the driver was going.
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