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Cocaine found in car door sent to auto body shop

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A car door purchased from an out-of-state salvage yard came with an unexpected surprise last week for a Poplar Bluff automotive repair shop -- more than 2 kilograms of pure cocaine with a street value of $150,000.

Authorities believe the narcotics came to Missouri by mistake.

It appears the door came from a late-model SUV wrecked in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area, which was impounded by police and never claimed, said Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley, who is now coordinating with the SEMO Drug Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. It then ended up at a Dallas salvage yard.

Unknown to the people who handled it after the accident, about 6 pounds of powder cocaine was tucked away in five plastic storage containers inside the door.

The part was ordered by a Malden, Mo., salvage yard, which had it delivered to Poplar Bluff, Whiteley said. He declined to name the local businesses that handled it before the discovery, but added they and the Dallas salvage yard were victims of circumstance.

"We think it was a complete fluke it ended up here in Poplar Bluff," Whiteley said. "This amount of cocaine is something we don't normally see in this area, and would certainly be indicative of having a direct connection to a large distributor that would probably have ties to Mexico."

Det. Jason Morgan and Det. Steve McCane were called to the Poplar Bluff repair shop around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, after workers took the door apart to begin their work. The detectives are working with federal authorities as the investigation continues into whether the wrecked vehicle could contain more drugs, and who owned the vehicle. The vehicle has a current license for this year, so it is likely a recent wreck, Whiteley said.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, Mo.

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