Cops: Salinas lettuce can't hide cocaine being trafficked through Ohio
Two men charged with attempting to drive $4.5 million worth of cocaine across the country found out that Salinas Valley lettuce doesn't provide good cover, Ohio state troopers said.
Oscar Santos-Arugeta and Antonio Dominguez-Melendez were arraigned on charges of possessing cocaine and criminal tools on Monday, according to Ohio Highway Patrol troopers who busted the pair.
Santos-Arugeta, of Dallas, and Dominguez-Melendez, of Guadalupe, Calif., face nine years in prison if convicted.
A trooper pulled the men over at 1:50 p.m. Friday about seven miles from the Ohio-Indiana border on Interstate 70 after their tractor-trailer failed to stay in its lane, said Sgt. Richard Reeder.
The pair made the trooper suspicious, and he called for a drug-sniffing dog. The dog, according to trooper reports, led law enforcement officers to the back of the trailer.
There, troopers discovered nearly 100 pounds of cocaine shoved into two boxes with a shipment of lettuce from Nunes Produce, Reeder said.
"The company had nothing to do with it," Reeder said, adding that the truckers hoped the lettuce would provide cover for their other operations.It appears that Santos-Arugeta and Dominguez-Melendez dumped two boxes of lettuce and filled the emptied containers with the drugs, Reeder said.
Calls seeking comment from Nunes weren't immediately returned.
BY LESLIE GRIFFY • LGRIFFY@THECALIFORNIAN.COM • SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
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