Not-So-Sneaky Smuggler Busted With $4M Worth of Drugs Hidden in Ford F-150's Tires

Agents discovered the alleged substances at a bridge crossing over the Rio Grande.

Ford

Prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and a whole host of other illegal substances make their way into the United States every day through a variety of clever and begrudgingly impressive methods. The flow of drugs across our southern border is no laughing matter, but it can be an elaborate game of cat and mouse for smugglers and law enforcement. One smuggler wasn't quite clever enough, though, as his operation was foiled by drug agents earlier this week. His multi-million dollar run included heroin and meth, both of which were hidden inside the tires of his white Ford F-150 as he crossed a bridge into the U.S.

Agents say the man from Pharr, Texas was driving across the Hidalgo International Bridge heading north when he was pulled over for a closer look. During their search, law enforcement found 14 packages of alleged black tar heroin totaling nearly 121 pounds and nine packages of methamphetamine totaling nearly 52 pounds using a non-intrusive image search. Together, the substances’ street value supposedly totaled more than $4 million—$3,293,000 for the heroin and $1,034,000 worth of meth, as Fox San Antonio reports. The 24-year-old man was arrested on the spot and his truck was seized. 

It’s unclear exactly how the smuggler secured the drugs inside the tires, but as anyone who has ever tried to drive with a little bit of snow stuck in their wheels knows, it’s unlikely that the truck's ride quality was improved by the contraband. That said, the tire trick is a popular method for moving large amounts of drugs around. In 2018, police in Austin, Texas stopped a pickup truck and found nearly $5 million worth of drugs hidden in its tires and last year, a woman was pulled over in Laredo carrying $1.3 million worth of heroin in her Toyota 4Runner's tires. Texas, what's the matter with you?

Hiding drugs inside tires is clever, but it's hardly the only disguise that smugglers have used. In March, nearly $600,000 worth of cocaine was found tucked inside the seats of a Toyota Camry. That bust included over 40 pounds of coke and more than five pounds of fentanyl, so it's clear that these aren't amateur smugglers modifying cars.

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