No spare room with pot stuffed in Fusions

The Detroit News

These spanking-new cars wouldn’t be useful if you needed a spare tire. If you were looking for a spare 14 kilos of marijuana, however, you’d be in luck.

The 15 Ford Fusions, made in Mexico, arrived in northeast Ohio earlier this month with the drugs stashed where the spare tire was supposed to be, said police.

In all, there was 400 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of $1 million, said the Portage County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office.

Police believe the drugs were stashed into the trunks while the cars were being transported by rail from Sonora, Mexico, to a CSX rail yard in Lordstown, Ohio. They believe the drugs were supposed to be removed along the route but someone failed to do so.

“Somebody messed up somewhere,” said Major Dale Kelly of the Portage Sheriff’s Office.

Ford Motor Co. said it determined the drugs weren’t placed in the cars at the auto plant or shipping yard in Mexico. The company said it’s working with the FBI and Customs on the investigation.

“We’re aware of the situation and are taking it very seriously,” said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.

The first drugs were discovered at a Ford dealership in Kent after the vehicle was unloaded from a car carrier, said police. A worker was inspecting the Fusion when he discovered wrapped in a package shaped like a half-moon.

The car was traced back to the rail yard, where authorities found five more Fusions with drugs in them, said the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators then found drugs packed in eight cars in dealerships in four counties in northeastern Ohio. One car with drugs was found in Pennsylvania.

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.