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Contraband
01/13/2011

$2.4 million in cash, more than 100 pounds of cocaine seized at California warehouse

contraband drugs and money
contraband drugs and money

VALENCIA, Calif. - Two male Canadian nationals are in custody facing state drug charges after agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and local police executed a search warrant at a warehouse here Wednesday night and found more than 103 pounds of cocaine and approximately $2.4 million in cash concealed inside a locked safe.

Vasile Babuschin, 19, and Sergei Souetov, 32, both from the Toronto area, are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles County District Court Tuesday for possession of cocaine. The two men were at the Valencia warehouse, located at 28351Constellation Road, when the agents and officers moved in. Besides the safe, investigators found dozens of boxes of romaine lettuce stacked inside the building. Agents believe the cocaine was ultimately destined for Canada and speculate the produce was going to be used to try to obscure the smuggling scheme.

"We believe these suspects were going to attempt to ship this cocaine by truck to Canada, where it would have sold on the streets for more than $2 million," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Los Angeles. "Thanks to some tenacious police work, there are some very unhappy drug dealers north of the border tonight."

HSI advises the investigation into the drug smuggling scheme is ongoing. The agency is working the case with the police departments of Santa Monica, El Monte, Anaheim and Costa Mesa, Calif. Investigators have also received substantial assistance from the police department in Vancouver, Canada.