Firefighters Cut Into Drug Trailer's Hidden Compartment in $2M Cocaine Bust - NBC Bay Area

Firefighters Cut Into Drug Trailer's Hidden Compartment in $2M Cocaine Bust

The trailer in Sylmar appeared empty until narcotics investigators looked under the big rig and found a hidden compartment that posed "quite a challenge" for firefighters



    Firefighters use a rotary saw to cut into a hidden compartment in which a stash of cocaine was found during an LAPD narcotics investigation. Raw video from March 22, 2013. (Published Friday, March 22, 2013)

    Firefighters used a rotary saw to tear apart the trailer floor of a big rig after the discovery of an estimated $2 million worth of cocaine in hidden compartments.

    Investigators discovered the big rig Thursday night in the 12000 block of Lopez Road (map) near Lopez Canyon Road in Sylmar. The truck was parked in a trucking yard called BG's Big Box.

    When investigators opened the doors, the refrigerated trailer appeared empty. But when they looked under the trailer, they found a steel plate trap door drilled along the floor to create a hidden compartment, fire officials said.

    "There is a void in the bottom of the trailer where they used steel plates to hide the narcotics," said Capt. Richard Garcia, of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

    Grease was smeared along the modified part of the trailer to obscure weld marks.

    "It's posing quite a challenge," Garcia said as crews sawed into the truck floor. "They have welded sheet steel, and it's making it really difficult for us."

    About 50 to 100 kilograms of bagged cocaine was found in the compartments, according to investigators.

    Authorities received a tip about the big rig coming from Mexico as part of the year-long investigation, said Lt. Carlos Mendoza. The truck was spotted on a freeway and followed to the truck yard.

    Mendoza said early Friday that investigators were waiting for tools to remove more of the drugs.

    Two men were taken into custody during the LAPD narcotics operation.