A major drug bust took nearly $1 million worth of drugs off the street.
A bus driver who was taking passengers from Houston to Chicago apparently packed more than an overnight bag. Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies arrested the driver and a passenger after $700,000 worth of drugs and $3,000 in cash were found hidden on-board.
It initially wasn't the drugs but a busted tail light on the bus that caught the attention of a Montgomery County Sheriff's deputy. He says a passenger sitting by the bus driver became so nervous the deputy decided something beyond a broken light was going on. So the deputy asked for permission and let his drug sniffing dog loose. "The dog did alert to an odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle," says Sgt. Kevin Ray with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.
"They (deputies) subsequently located a hidden compartment near the sleeper passenger area of that bus," says Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Rob Freyer.
So the El Expresso commercial bus there on Highway 59 in Splendora that was headed to Chicago was now headed for the evidence room. All of the passengers, including a number of kids, had to get off the bus and wait hours for another one to arrive. Meanwhile, detectives discovered that hidden compartment in an area where bus drivers normally sleep. They came across more than a pillow and blanket. "They located approximately 8- kilos of cocaine and 2-kilos of heroine. It's obviously a lot of drugs," says Freyer.
The street value? Over $700,000. The El Expresso bus driver 54-year old Juan Vorrath and a passenger 29-year old Ramiro Trevino Jr. were both arrested. Deputy DA Freyer says this should serve as a warning for drug dealers. "Don't drive your dope through Montgomery County".
The bus driver and passenger are both charged with money laundering, drug possession with intent to deliver and unauthorized use of a criminal instrument for allegedly using that secret compartment to transport the cocaine and heroine. The passenger has a prior criminal record, the driver does not. If convicted the two face sentences of 15 years to life.