Tequila bottles filled with meth seized in central Calif.

November 19, 2012 10:15:51 PM PST
A major drug bust Monday uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of methamphetamine being smuggled down Interstate 5.

The California Highway Patrol seized more than 50 pounds of "liquid meth" on the highway in Coalinga at 10 a.m.

A man, who CHP identified as 20-year-old Rene Diaz, was handcuffed and taken into the back of a patrol car. CHP says his accomplice was 38-year-old Veronica Carrasco, who was also arrested. Investigators say the two worked together to transport 56 pounds of liquid methamphetamine hidden in tequila bottles. They're estimating the value of the seized methamphetamine at more than half a million dollars. Investigators believe the two had plans to travel from Southern California to Oregon.

"At this level of amount, it is going to be distributed all over the place. Once it gets to the final form, the powdered form, it's going to be disseminated throughout the country, "said CHP's Matt Radke.

The bust happened during a traffic stop after an officer noticed both the suspects seemed nervous. A drug sniffing dog also picked up on the scent. Highway patrol says the transport of meth in liquid form is a new trend.

"In the past, I-5 has been though as the main corridor, but you can find it on 99 and I-5; pretty much every major thoroughfare through the state of California," said Radke.

Members of the Fresno Meth Task force say the drugs are often made by Mexican cartels.

"These two suspects gave indications of basically just being transporters for whoever they are working for, and a lot of times in these instances they don't know each other. They have valid licenses to transport," Radke said.

Both will now face federal drug trafficking charges across state lines.

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