Mexican cartel smuggle drugs with world's most unassuming car
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What exactly is the Ford Mondeo known for?
The Toyota Camry is noted for being dull, the Holden Commodore is noted for being a bogan icon, and the Mondeo ... well ... isn't noted for much at all. They used to race them in the British Touring Car Championship when I was a lad, they race them in Nascar right now as Ford Fusions. But I don't think either of those really constitutes cultural capital of any kind.
Not that they're a bad car by any stretch. We rather like them; their handling, equipment, and refinement is top notch. But, you have to admit that they're not exactly the first car you think of when the words 'Mexican drug cartel uses cars to smuggle drugs' flash across your screen.
But that's exactly what's happened on more than one occasion in Minnesota. At least 22 brand new Mondeos (well, Fusions) and at least one new Lincoln were unwilling participants in a scheme that saw 500kg of green, pot, grass, Mary Jane, marijuana smuggled across the border. That's an estimated local street value of NZD$2 million.
While this is an amusing story on the surface, local reports state that it could be the tip of a rather larger iceberg. The cartel smuggling these drugs is believed to be that of the infamous 'El Chapo', and is intertwined with Ford's Hermosillo car manufacturing facility in Mexico.
Photo / Dilworth Police Department
The story started in February, when a railroad inspector responded to a tip off and found almost 40kg of weed in the spare wheel wells of two cars parked on his train. An expanded search revealed that another 13 cars on the same rail car were also packing; some of them having made it all the way to their rightful owners — which included a rental car company and an 86-year-old. Another seven were then discovered last month during routine inspection.
There's the potential here for things to get very messy indeed, as investigators try and sniff out the various pieces of the puzzle; where the drugs stem from, and who on the US side of things takes them out. Early reports from the Dilworth Police Department and Saint Paul Police Department suggest that the drugs were placed in the cars while they're still in Mexico, and then intercepted by a co-conspirator in the US who would “break into the rail cars and recover the narcotics” according to the latter.
You can bet as well that this will soon become some kind of political football, as Donald Trump continues to push for local manufacturing, and against those using the likes of Mexico as alternatives.
Either way, there is no doubt more to come from this story.