Rapides Parish Traffic Stop Lands 108 Pounds of Cocaine (and 45,000 Pounds of Mangos)
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KPEL News) - An odd traffic stop led to a major drug bust as an 18-wheeler was discovered to be carrying over one hundred pounds of cocaine amongst several thousand pounds of fruit.
On Tuesday, April 18, Rapides Parish sheriff's deputies "observed the driver of a semi-tractor trailer truck commit a traffic violation and conducted a traffic stop for improper lane usage," the sheriff's office said in a release.
During the stop, in which the driver - Jose Calderon, 56, of Edinburg, Texas - was being interviewed, deputies became suspicious. A drug dog at the scene, Izzy, was allowed to sniff around the truck and alerted deputies to possible narcotics. That led to an investigation inside the truck.
Inside the truck were 45,000 pounds of mangos, which were headed for New York. However, deputies also discovered 35 kilos of powder cocaine, which comes out to about 108 pounds.
It's the second large drug bust in Rapides Parish in the past year, according to The Town Talk in Alexandria. In October, law enforcement seized 10 pounds of fentanyl found at an Alexandria home.
But the good news is that the mangos were able to get to New York.
[District Attorney Phillip] Terrell said the wrapped blocks of cocaine were concealed with the mangos, a common practice. But he said the disposal of the fruit then became the sheriff office's responsibility, and they couldn't just give it away.
He said his office, RADE commander Major Kary Beebe and federal agencies researched who owned the mangos and got them loaded on another truck. Wood said the fruit left Alexandria Wednesday.
"Those mangos should be in New York by now," said Beebe.
The fruit shipment seemed to be legitimate, said [Sheriff Mark] Wood and Terrell.