Cocaine Bust

Police set the kind of record they probably don't like this week when they seized 52 pounds of cocaine worth more than five million dollars in Iredell County.

The bust in Interstate 40 during a traffic stop was the largest cocaine haul ever found on the interstate in North Carolina. Three Mexican citizens were in the car. The previous record for cocaine seizure on Interstate 40 had been about 11 pounds.

The car was stopped by Iredell County sheriff's deputies on Monday after an officer noticed an illegal tinted cover on the car's license plate. The drug was found in 19 packages hidden in compartments.

Federal agents charged the car's driver, Jose Daniel Amador Beltran of Nogales, Mexico, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. He is being held without bond.

The two passengers in the car were Beltran's aunts, Catalina Beltran Duarte and Maria Concepcion Beltran Duarte, both of Nogales. They have been detained on immigration violations.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)