Ford workers find 277 pounds of pot in Mexico shipment

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Woodhaven — U.S. Federal authorities have recovered a stash of drugs found in a shipment of Ford vehicles from Mexico for the second time this month.

Ford employees turned over 277 pounds of marijuana found in a shipment of vehicles to federal authorities Wednesday, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The drugs were concealed inside rail cars holding new Ford Motor Co. and Lincoln vehicles, which had recently come from Mexico.

Employees initially discovered the drugs inside the rail cars that had been offloaded at the Ford Rail Distribution Facility in Woodhaven. Ford contacted Woodhaven Police, which contacted ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

The drugs tested positive for marijuana. No arrests have been made, though authorities are following “multiple” leads in an ongoing probe. In early July, 15 Ford Fusions that were made in Mexico arrived in northeast Ohio with drugs stored in the spare tire wells.

Around 400 pounds of marijuana worth $1 million were recovered from those vehicles. A similar smuggling scheme was uncovered in Minnesota in March. Dilworth police discovered seven Ford Fusions with marijuana stashed where the spare tire was supposed to be. Those cars also were made in Mexico.

“We are taking this very seriously,” Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in an email Thursday. “We are working closely with a number of law enforcement agencies on this investigation, including the FBI, Customs, Department of Homeland Security and local police. We cannot comment further as this is an active investigation.”

Of the drugs found Wednesday in Woodhaven, federal officials said Ford is cooperating fully with the investigation.

“This seizure ensures that these illegal drugs will never be distributed in our communities and offers actionable intelligence that HSI and our partners can now develop into a larger probe," said Steve Francis, HSI special agent in charge, in a statement.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau