Tucson police say they raided a West Side auto repair shop believed to be a “stash business” and found over 2,000 pounds of marijuana Monday afternoon.
Investigators saw a dump truck back into Precision Engineering, 815 W. Grant Road, and unload a large pile of dirt in which the bundles of marijuana were hidden, said Lt. Kelly Lane of the Counter Narcotics Alliance.
“A truck dumping a load of dirt just doesn’t make sense for this type of business,” Lane said.
After police saw that, they obtained a search warrant and raided the business, where they found 2,200 pounds of marijuana under a tarp, he said.
Police arrested Augustine Echeverria-Romero, 27, and Felincio Avila, 28, at the auto shop, on charges of unlawful possession of marijuana and conspiracy to sell marijuana.
Police also arrested the owner, John K. Kaufmann, near the business. He was booked into Pima County Jail on the same drug charges, plus unlawful possession of narcotics, after police found a small amount of cocaine in his house, Sgt. Mark Robinson said.
Lane said this case was unusual because of the way in which the marijuana was hidden, and because the trafficking took place in daylight.
“This is something that was done under our noses,” he said.
Investigators had been suspicious about the area and knew there was a drug stash, but had not found the location until Monday, Lane said.
Police said the marijuana was worth $1 million and that its likely final destination was not Tucson.