The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago police have seized drugs hidden in everything from coffee to religious statues but last week discovered loads of cocaine stashed in a way they'd never seen before -- in guacamole.
Four men have been arrested and charged with drug possession after police found what they estimated to be $39 million worth of high-grade cocaine hidden inside a shipment of Mexican avocado pulp Friday.
"This came right through the border," Chicago Police Cmdr. Wayne Wiberg said Monday while standing in front of still-bundled 2-kilogram bricks of cocaine, each of which had been individually stuffed inside 180 buckets of frozen guacamole.
Acting on a tip, narcotics investigators arrested Ernesto Garcia Diaz, 37, of Chicago and three accomplices shortly after the men allegedly loaded the buckets onto a rented flatbed truck at warehouse in Addison.
Also arrested were Eduardo Rodriguez Blancarte, 21, Felizardo Novoa Elizondo, 45, both Mexican nationals, and Servando Negrete Gentil, 43, of Chicago.
Diaz, identified by police as the group's ringleader, used a false name to rent out the warehouse space a week before the bust. He was driving a rented truck when police stopped him in Glendale Heights, police Sgt. Juan Rivera said.
After locating 308 kilos of cocaine inside the buckets taken from the truck, police found another 760 tubs of the green goop in the warehouse.
More than 26,000 pounds of guacamole was destroyed.
"Somebody said, `Let's get some chips,"' Wiberg said. "I said we'd be here for a year."
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If convicted, all four men face a mandatory minimum sentence of between 15 and 60 years in prison, said DuPage County State's Atty. Joe Birkett, whose office will prosecute the cases. Birkett said he intends to seek upgraded charges against all four men that would carry minimum mandatory sentences of between 30 and 120 years in prison.