Man caught on Hwy 99 with $100,000 worth of cocaine hidden in cereal boxes

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A CHP officer found three ordinary boxes of cereal in the back seat of a man's car. Hidden inside was thousands of dollars worth of cocaine.

Officer Eric Zuniga with the California Highway Patrol in Merced said an officer was pulling over 45-year-old Jose Cardenas on Le Grand Road along Highway 99 on Thursday.

The stop was originally for the illegal tinting of his front windows, but Zuniga says the officer noticed the driver was acting strange.

"During the conversation the officer detected signs of abnormal activity, him being evasive during the interview," Zuniga said.

The officer brought over his K9 and found a plastic bag on the floor in the back of the car with three cereal boxes of Cocoa Puffs and Fruity Pebbles containing more than $100,000 worth of cocaine.

"I've never seen that... it's pretty ingenious. It's just in plain view. Anyone looks at that as just cereal," he said.

The drugs are being processed and will eventually be tested while investigators determine where the drugs were coming from in the first place.

Zuniga says the number of drugs busts is pretty consistent but says their K9 units are constantly keeping an eye on illegal drugs and weapons on the state highways.

Cardenas is now behind bars facing drug transportation charges. He's in custody at the Merced County Jail.
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