Tireless efforts on the part of Metro Nashville's Interstate Interdiction Unit and Mt. Juliet Police led to the seizure of 8 kilograms of cocaine from a vehicle on Interstate 40, officials said.
Officers found the drugs — estimated to be worth $250,000 on the street — hidden in the spare tire of a Chevrolet Tahoe, police said.
The vehicle was located and stopped for speeding in Mt. Juliet after Metro officers stopped a vehicle traveling with Tahoe on Wednesday afternoon.
A police canine alerted to the presence of a drug odor coming from the vehicle. The spare tire, which was under the vehicle, showed signs of tampering. When officers removed it, they found eight packages of cocaine weighing 17.6 pounds. Nearly $900 cash was also recovered.
The driver of the Tahoe, Rodrigo Leon-Castillo, 36, of Katy, Texas, is being charged federally with trafficking cocaine. Police believe he was traveling from Houston to Washington, D.C.
Metro alerted Mt. Juliet officers after an officer stopped a Chevrolet Impala with Texas plates for a traffic violation in west Nashville, police said.