Used van came with $500K of cocaine
A California man got a lot more than he expected when he purchased a used minivan last year.
The van came with one extra Preston hadn't asked for -- half a million dollars' worth of cocaine, hidden inside the frame.
Preston discovered the cellophane-wrapped packages of cocaine -- the drugs were the reason the windows weren't working -- when he took the van to have its brakes checked in August, the Mercury News reported on Sunday. The San Jose, Calif., psychologist immediately reported the find to police, who told him to have the van checked for a tracking device, and then get rid of it.
"People make jokes -- 'Oh, you should have sold it,'" Preston told the Mercury News. "But honestly, I've never been so scared in my life, even when I was mugged in New York."
San Jose police said Preston's worries are justified, the newspaper reported:
"It's absolutely dangerous," said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a police spokesman. "If somebody is motivated to track down that van and doesn't want any witnesses, then some physical harm could come to the owner. That's a lot of dope to be misplaced."
Police were unable to trace the cocaine to a particular source or dealers, the Mercury News reported, but its packaging indicated that it may have been intended for long-distance travel.
Risks of buying rental cars
The van had been owned at one time by a rental car company, and may have been rented by someone who used it for smuggling.
The chance that a car has been used for illegal activities is one risk of buying a former rental car. Rental cars are one common overland means of smuggling drugs into the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Post continues below.
Many car-buying experts say there's nothing wrong with buying former rental cars, but many people shy away from it because they think renters may have abused them, Edmonds.com reported. Executives from Automobile Consumer Services Corp. told Edmonds that rental companies buy vehicles at low prices, sell them after just one year, and usually take good care of them, so buyers can potentially get good deals.
In addition, rental vehicles often have low mileage, which makes them a good compromise between buying new and getting an older used model, according to Accurate Auto Advice.
A happy ending
Preston didn't purchase the white Town and Country van from a rental agency, however. He bought it at Thrifty Car Sales in Santa Clara, Calif. And when Preston initially contacted Thrifty about returning the van, he said the company was willing to credit him only current Blue Book value, which he refused. Thrifty has since agreed to take the van back and give him a drug-free ride.
Preston, who bought the minivan to deliver food to homeless people, is glad he didn't get pulled over for a traffic violation, in which a routine search could have turned up the drugs and landed him in jail.
And he says it gives him quite a story to tell now when he meets new people.
More on MSN Money:
- Your dealership wants your car back
- Devil's advocate: Buy a brand-new car
- The most and least expensive cars to insure
- Is a used car still a good deal?
- Compare car loans in your area
- Charge a stranger $5 an hour to borrow your car
Decriminalize drugs. Quit wasting my tax dollars on an unwinnable war.
Mitigate the damage, control is the answer. For that you need to decriminalize and legalize. It was the same with alcohol, legalization brought control. During prohibition, child alcoholism was an epidemic. It ended with legalization. Because dealers dont care who they sell to, a licensed store has to obey the rules.
End the tax drain and the damage to society. End the attack on personal freedoms. Control the problem!
the van originaly must've been en route to a senate hearing and got derailed before our elected officials got their goodies.seems like they're all on something with the decisions they make concerning the future of this country.
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