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Nevada traffic stop yields 452 pounds of cocaine
by Cristina Silva - Associated Press
Aug 11, 2011 | 1464 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada investigators seized a record 452 pounds of cocaine from a semi-trailer truck Wednesday during a routine traffic stop after the driver nervously swerved into another lane on a rural highway.

Las Vegas police Lt. Laz Chavez said it's the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Nevada, easily trumping the previous record of 125 pounds. Police said the contraband had a value of $16.4 million.

Gaston Danjou, 51, faces charges of cocaine possession, drug trafficking and transporting a controlled substance. Investigators are trying to determine the origin of the cocaine.

A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper stopped Danjou for driving erratically at about 12:30 a.m. on Interstate 15, near Jean, a city roughly 30 miles outside of Las Vegas. The truck driver, who was transporting construction materials on a flatbed for a private company, provided inconsistent answers when asked where he was traveling from, said Chavez.

Danjou's statements sparked suspicion, culminating in a search of his truck with a police dog. The cocaine was found in food storage bags spread across a stack of duffel bags in a hidden compartment inside the truck's sleeper.

Investigators believe Danjou was taking the cocaine from California through Nevada to other western states. It was unclear how he obtained the cocaine, but investigators believe he was working for a large drug operation because of the amount found on the truck.

"Interstate 15 is used frequently by drug trafficking operations," Chavez said. "We are already scrutinizing every vehicle that we can."

The cocaine bust comes nearly a month after the largest methamphetamine seizure in state history. Investigators seized more than 208 pounds of methamphetamine and four pounds of heroin from homes across the Las Vegas Valley allegedly used by a Mexican drug ring on July 12.

Both busts were part of a unified anti-drug effort headed by the Las Vegas police department, federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Henderson police department, Nevada Highway Patrol and other local agencies.
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