Authorities in Canada allege that a Mexican drug cartel has been stashing bricks of methamphetamine into the spare tires of new cars and sending them to Canada on trains.
Global News reports that Ontario Provincial Police was tipped off to the drug-smuggling scheme after employees at four Ford dealerships discovered suspicious bags in the spare tires of freshly-delivered Ford Fusion models. The vehicles were all built at Ford’s assembly plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
“The powerful Sinaloa cartel is well entrenched in that area of Mexico,” OPP Supt. Bryan MacKillop said. “We are very certain that they are ultimately responsible for these drugs.”
The investigation involves the Canada Border Services Agency, Greater Sudbury Police, police in New Brunswick, Quebec provincial police and Ford. Authorities assert that nine of 14 vehicles in a shipment to Ontario dealerships contained meth.
All up, roughly 180 kg (396 lbs) of meth with a value of $4.5 million was found.
Police have yet to find any more drugs in other Ford Fusions delivered to the country. They suggest that an aspect of the smuggling operation failed which led to the drugs continuing off the rail cars and into dealerships.
“As we know from past drug smuggling investigations it is not uncommon for a criminal organization to resort to creative means to hide illicit drugs within legal cargo,” MacKillop said.
The Sinaloa cartel was once led by Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman who was recently found guilty of drug trafficking and other offenses in New York.
If this drug smuggling case seems familiar, that’s because it is. In April 2017, at least 22 Ford vehicles, including Fusions, were found loaded with marijuana in the spare wheel wells. These vehicles also originated from the Hermosillo factory.
Nearly 200 kilos of methamphetamine worth $4.5 million stashed in spare tires shipped with new vehicles from Mexico investigated by #OPP, @sureteduquebec, @WoodNBPolice and @CanBorder pic.twitter.com/Gn05FIFKZ5
— Ontario Prov Police (@OPP_News) February 27, 2019