Local News

Drug Bust on Tour Bus Nets $3.2M in Cocaine

Posted July 20, 2007 9:55 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2007 3:59 p.m. EDT

— Wake County sheriff’s officials credit luck, hard work and well-trained officers for making one of the largest drug busts in Wake County history Friday.

Deputies found 70 pounds of cocaine, worth about $3.2 million on the street, packed inside the back tires of a tour bus from Texas.

Authorities noticed the bus after it ran a red light at the intersection of Wakefield and West Gannon streets in Zebulon at about 2 p.m. Friday. A narcotics canine searched the bus, and deputies discovered 32 kilos of cocaine in the tires.

Sandy Sprague watched the scene for hours from her window.

“They just seemed to not give up, and look what they found. To get that off the streets is wonderful,” Sprague said.

Investigators took two men on the bus into custody.

Gerardo Vilchez, 48, of Houston, Texas, and Victor Hugo Lopez, 33, of Grand Prairie, Texas, were charged with felony trafficking by possession, felony trafficking by transportation, felony maintaining a vehicle and felony conspiracy, officials said.

Both men were held on $4 million bond, authorities said. Their first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he doesn't know where the drugs came from or where they were going. He's just glad the drugs and the suspected traffickers are off the streets.

“That’s all they’ve got to do is try to fool the law,” he said. “And thanks to these guys right here, they didn’t fool us.”

Harrison noted that this was the largest drug bust since he became sheriff in December 2002.