Routine Stop – Major Arrest
On March 20, 1993, Trooper Lance Bushnell stopped a 1992 Ford pickup for speeding on I-15 near Nephi, Utah. During the stop, Trooper Bushnell became suspicious. Neither the driver nor the passenger knew the name of the vehicle’s registered owner or how to contact him. Both the driver and passenger were very nervous. Trooper Bushnell wrote a warning for speeding and requested backup. Upon returning to the vehicle, Trooper Bushnell asked for consent to search for drugs. Both the driver and the passenger signed a consent to search form.
The search lasted all of fifteen seconds. Trooper Bushnell knew exactly what he was looking for – a secret compartment under the bed of the pickup. Once Trooper Bushnell confirmed that the truck had been modified and there was a hidden compartment, he handcuffed both the driver and the passenger.
By removing the tailgate, lowering the bumper, and removing a panel with three bolts, Trooper Bushnell was able to observe the access door. The door was bolted down with four corner bolts. The seam was covered with caulking and the entire door and modifications were painted black. Once opened, the contents were revealed 106 kilograms of cocaine. The street value of the 106 kilos is estimated at $31.8 million. The truck was flown to the intended destination aboard an air transport, where DEA agents arrested a third suspect in a motel room in Newark, New Jersey.