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$500k in coke hidden in $14k used minivan

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For $14,000, Charles Preston got a great good deal on a used minivan. Especially considering the half a million worth of cocaine that was hidden in the door panels.

The psychologist bought the 2008 Chrysler from Thrifty Car Sales in Santa Clara. He always wondered why the windows didn’t roll down all the way, but never had it checked out until a few months ago.

When his mechanic started pulling tablet-sized objects wrapped in cellophane out of the door panel, Preston was shocked. Cops found even more after they impounded and searched the car.

Preston said:

“They told me, ‘You’re so lucky, you’d be in jail for the rest of your life if you got searched in a traffic stop and they found this.'”

The cops suspect the van was used to smuggle the drugs across state lines, or even from Mexico. How the coke got left behind, though, is anybody’s guess.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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