More specifically, a $4.5 million mistake.
The fine details are important, particularly when it involves international shipping. This also applies to vehicles that are manufactured in one country and shipped to another one. It's not just about getting the shipping address correct but also making sure the vehicles have nothing illegal hidden inside them. Auto News Canada reports that 14 Mexican-built Ford Fusions were shipped to nine different Ontario-area Ford dealerships with 400-pounds worth of methamphetamines hidden inside the cars' spare tires. All told, the drug shipment was worth $4.5 million, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
Clearly this discovery was not intended to happen and authorities claim the drug cartel made an "error." Canadian and US authorities believe the Sinaloa drug cartel is behind the shipment, but the newly-built vehicles were never intended to reach their final destinations with their "special features", so to speak, still included.
Somehow, the cartel managed to gain access to the vehicles not long after they left the manufacturing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. The drugs were then hidden not only in the spare tires but also the sedans' trunks. All nine of the drug-packed Fusions that crossed into Canada via railway were in the same railcar, which makes sense. Upon discovery of hidden drugs, agents managed to stop another railcar which housed an additional 12 Fusions, all of which had drugs hidden in their spare tires.
So, how did the smuggled drugs get discovered? The report claims one of the Ford dealerships was conducting a standard inspection of a new Fusion delivered to its lot overnight. During that inspection, the employee noticed the trunk mat didn't fit in the trunk correctly. When they tried to fix it, they further discovered the spare tire was the reason why the mat was out of place. That could happen to any car when said tire is not factory-spec.
The employee then discovered the hidden drugs lining the inside of the tire. "At that point, we were done," an employee explained to Auto News. The police were immediately called, which soon led to an even bigger methamphetamine bust. Ford Motor Co. of Canada and the US are working with authorities to help figure out the timeline as to how and when the cartel managed to gain access to the completed vehicles.
This isn't the first time Mexican drug cartels have been caught attempting to smuggle illegal drugs hidden in vehicles into North America and, chances are, it certainly won't be the last.