LaGRANGE — Two men were behind bars in the Troup County Jail on Friday after law enforcement officials discovered an estimated $1.8 million of suspected cocaine in the tractor-trailer they were riding in.
Roberto Garza Bazan, 65, and Luis Ivan Moreno, 21, both of Rio Grande City, Texas, were arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 85 northbound about 10 p.m. Thursday.
The Georgia State Patrol stopped the semi for a traffic violation and asked for assistance from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office when a trooper suspected the driver and passenger might be hiding something inside the vehicle.
Bazan and Moreno agreed to allow the trooper and deputy to inspect the vehicle, which was hauling fruit from around the Mexico border to Atlanta, said Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff.
The two officers went through the entire shipment of limes and lemons to the back of the semi, where they uncovered a secret compartment, Woodruff said. Law enforcement officials discovered the 40 kilograms — about 88 pounds — of suspected cocaine inside the sectioned off container.
“We are very pleased to be getting this large amount of drugs off our streets and out of our community,” said Woodruff. “We are also grateful for the working relationship we have with the Georgia State Patrol.”
Bazan and Moreno were each charged by the Georgia State Patrol with trafficking cocaine and using a vehicle with a false or secret compartment.
This was the largest drug bust for the sheriff’s office this year.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.