INDIANAPOLIS – IMPD officers make a historic drug bust after arresting a truck driver accused of hauling nearly 300 pounds of cocaine through central Indiana.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, IMPD detectives received reliable information that a large amount of narcotics would pass through Marion County on Nov. 30.
According to court records, the investigation began with a tip that someone was driving a shipment of drugs in a red semi with a white trailer and Texas plates.
Detectives located the truck at a rest area on I-70 at mile marker 64 in Hendricks County.
IMPD narcotics K9 Mina made positive indication of drugs from the truck. Detectives obtained a search warrant, and the subsequent search turned up about 130 kilos of cocaine (approximately 286 pounds) with an estimated street value of $13 million.
Officers interviewed and arrested the driver, 50-year-old Mauro Alonzo-Vargas of Ennis, Texas.
“This is the largest seizure I’ve seen since I’ve been doing this work,” said IMPD Sgt. Paul McDonald, who has been with IMPD’s drug interdiction unit for 22 years. “We’ve had some significant seizures, but this is the largest.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration was called in to assist.
“We were talking in the office, we don’t remember any seizure of this magnitude,” said Mike Gannon, DEA assistant special agent in charge.
Police claim the driver said he pulled over at the rest area before he planned to make a legitimate delivery in Plainfield, but it’s not clear where the drugs were going to be distributed.
“When you’re talking 130 kilos of cocaine, that’s a significant seizure no matter where you are,” said Gannon. “You know how many drug suppliers could be moving that on the streets in all different communities?”
According to the affidavit, Alonzo-Vargas confessed he owned the truck but claimed he didn’t know about the drugs, which were found hidden in a false ceiling attached to ropes.
“We call it dope on a rope,” said McDonald. “That’s what this was. They had dope on a rope. We are fighting the war on drugs one kilo at a time. This one was a major seizure. Thank goodness we got this off the roads, and it’ll impact a lot of people in a lot of ways.”
The suspect is being held in the Hendricks County Jail on a $20,000 cash bond. He’s due in court on criminal charges next month.
Jesse Wells contributed to this story.