$1M in pot found in cars shipped from Mexico

WARREN — More than 400 pounds of marijuana with a street value of more than $1 million was seized this week from inside cars shipped from Mexico to Warren.

Portage County Sheriff David Doak said members of the task force were called to a Ford new car dealership in Portage County when service department employees discovered a suspicious package in the trunk compartment of a new Ford Fusion during a delivery inspection. The compartment is where the spare tire is stored, Doak said, and the inspection was done after the vehicle was taken off a transport carrier.

He said task force members identified the contents as pressed marijuana.

During the investigation, it was learned the vehicle was shipped by train from Mexico to a rail yard in the Warren area. Doak said it was there that investigators located and seized an additional five packages of marijuana from the trunks of new Ford Fusions.

He said throughout the week, task force members and agents located and seized an additional nine packages of marijuana from new Ford Fusions in Portage, Stark and Columbiana counties and one from Pennsylvania.

Doak said investigators, with the assistance of the Ford Motor Co., were able to determine the Ford Fusions manufactured in Mexico entered the United States by crossing the Mexican border into Arizona, made their way to northeast Ohio by train and were dropped off at the rail yard in Warren.

”During this investigation, investigators determined that a rail car containing 15 new Ford Fusions had their spare tires removed, replacing them with compressed packages of marijuana resembling a tire,” Doak said. The seized narcotics had a street value in excess of $1 million, he said.

Doak said no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.