Drug Agents Make Large Cocaine Bust


Orange County’s Regional Narcotics Suppression Program has seized 1,976 pounds of cocaine in what authorities said Tuesday is the first major cocaine bust this year.

The drugs have an estimated street value of $35 million and were seized last week by the county’s drug task force, which includes 67 officers from local police departments and state and federal agencies.

At a news conference Tuesday, narcotics agents displayed the drugs in dozens of small boxes set out on two conference tables. Some boxes were yellow with “Clinton” stamped on the side, which may have been for camouflage.


This indicated “someone’s sick sense of humor” and “very little respect for the office of the President,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Storm, head of the task force.

Storm said most boxes also were wrapped with a scented adhesive that sent search dogs off the trail. Finding such a large amount of cocaine in one place is unusual because many smugglers now transport cocaine in much smaller amounts to avoid capture, he said.

Twelve officers seized the drugs from a Cerritos home and arrested four suspects on Jan. 27. The suspects apparently rented the house about a week earlier to store the drugs, Storm said.

“This is one of those cases where we sat back and watched them doing business,” he said. “We caught them transporting this cocaine from Diamond Bar to Cerritos in a pickup truck both on freeway and surface streets.”

Some of the cocaine was found in the closet of the house, and some in a truck in the garage, Storm said. Three of the suspects were being held Tuesday at the Los Angeles County Jail. The fourth, a juvenile, was released to relatives pending further investigation, Storm said.

Storm said the four suspects are believed to have brought the drugs recently from Colombia, which agents suspect is their homeland.


“We were fortunate to get it just as it came into the country,” he said.

The Santa Ana-based task force is funded in part by assets seized from drug suspects. Started in 1986, the program has been involved in at least 343 investigations, resulting in 616 arrests and the seizure of $137.9 million.