Nebraska State Patrol troopers seized 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of what they suspect is fentanyl during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Kearney.
The traffic stop occurred about 10:20 a.m. Thursday when a trooper saw an eastbound 2013 Freightliner semitrailer truck driving on the shoulder near mile marker 280. During the stop, officials said, the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity.
Troopers searched the vehicle and discovered a false compartment in the otherwise empty trailer. Hidden there were 42 foil-wrapped packages containing 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of an unknown powder suspected to be fentanyl. The drugs’ estimated street value is $5 million to $10 million, the patrol said.
Because of the dangerous nature of the substance, the patrol said, troopers do not perform field testing on substances that they suspect are fentanyl. The substance is being tested at the patrol’s crime lab.
If the substance proves to be fentanyl, it would be the largest-ever fentanyl seizure in Nebraska, topping the patrol’s seizure of 33 pounds in Omaha last year, the patrol said.
The driver of the truck, a 46-year-old man, and his 52-year-old passenger, both of New Jersey, were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Both men were taken to the Buffalo County Jail.