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LA police find pot stash in railroad tanker

Published: Mon, July 12, 2010 @ 3:42 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A late-night police pursuit ended with a drug bust and the discovery Monday of thousands of pounds of marijuana concealed in a railroad tank car.

Police Detective Gus Villanueva said numerous bundles of pot were removed from the gooey inside of the petroleum rail tanker by late morning and many more packages were still inside.

The retrieval operation in a rail yard southeast of downtown Los Angeles was halted at about 10 a.m. because something suspicious was found inside and a bomb squad was summoned, Villanueva said.

Fire Capt. Steve Ruda described the object as small and cylindrical.

The marijuana discovery occurred after officers tried to halt a vehicle traveling erratically east of downtown at about 11 p.m. Sunday and the driver refused to stop. The chase ended near the rail yard in Commerce, where three men jumped out of the car and were quickly arrested.

Officers noticed an oily substance on the suspects’ clothing and found bundles of marijuana coated with oil in the car.

The officers were then led to the nearby tank car, Villanueva said.

The tanker was moved about a half-block to a safer area and additional bundles were found inside.

Investigators used Fire Department ladders to reach the hatch atop the tanker. Marijuana removed from inside was lowered to the ground by bucket.

Commerce is a small industrial city with many rail facilities.

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