Found this article in a local paper - I get a kick out of the smugglers being so literal with their metaphors...."drug mule" sheesh. Sadly, no images to upload.
POT FOUND IN CONCRETE DONKEY
FONTANA - Some 1,800 pounds of marijuana stashed inside cement donkeys was discovered during a surveillance operation that included Fontana and Los Angeles police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other law enforcement agencies.
Fontana Police Sgt. Jeff Decker could not help but chuckle Wednesday over smugglers using cement donkey lawn ornaments as "drug mules."
"The fact drug smugglers are resorting to such unusual ruses shows that the work of the new 'LA BEST' is having an impact," said Robert Schoch, special agent for the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles.
LA Best, or Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force, is a one-year-old investigative unit made up of officers from 10 federal, state and local agencies.
Law enforcement officials took 15 suspects into custody in the marijuana-smuggling scheme that they said started at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and ended Tuesday night in Fontana and Sun Valley.
Marijuana with a street value estimated at more than $1 million was found inside some 200 cement donkeys, each standing about 3 feet tall and weighing about 100 pounds. Decker said Fontana's drug-sniffing dog was called in to spot the pot about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 8300 block of Reseda Avenue.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers initially discovered the marijuana-laden donkeys inside a 40-foot seagoing container after it arrived at the port, Schoch said. The container was headed for a fictitious business in Fontana.
One suspect is being detained on an outstanding criminal warrant, police said. The others are being held on immigration violations.
LA Best focuses on maritime-related crime in Southern California ranging from drug, immigrant, currency and weapons smuggling to trade fraud and cargo theft.
By MICHAEL PERRAULT
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