Friday, May 20, 2005
OnStar Leads Cops to Tot, Pot
By T.J. Wilham
Copyright © 2005 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
A call made to OnStar by a 2-year-old boy helped him escape from a locked Cadillac Escalade.
But his dad wasn't thanking OnStar. Police were.
That's because when Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies went to rescue the boy Wednesday night after being called by the vehicle security company, they found 1,700 pounds of marijuana worth more than $500,000 inside a trailer near the sport utility vehicle, investigators said.
"When they advertise the security features of the system, I imagine OnStar can add catching drug traffickers to its list," Sheriff Darren White said. "As the commercials say, 'Thanks, OnStar.' ''
White said the bust is one of the largest in the department's history.
Late Thursday, the boy's father, Alfredo Ibarra, 25, Eric Aniles, 25, Jimmy Hogan, 52, and Sean Daly, 23, were in federal custody on drug trafficking charges, police said.
According to court records, sheriff's deputies received a call around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday from OnStar reporting a small boy trapped inside a vehicle parked at Hills Automotive, 4334 Broadway SE.
When deputies arrived, they found the boy inside the vehicle and Ibarra outside trying to coach his son to open a door, court records show.
OnStar eventually unlocked the doors, freeing the boy.
As deputies were trying to figure out how the boy got into the SUV, they got suspicious because of all the activity at the shop that late at night. They also spotted a new white trailer with an Oklahoma license plate inside the shop, court records show.
Daly, who worked at the shop, told deputies it belonged to a customer. However, Hogan had admitted the trailer was his, court records show.
The men gave deputies permission to look inside the trailer, where they found several packages of marijuana bundled, court records show. They also found more of the drug in a truck that belonged to Hogan, police said.
After determining how much marijuana they had found, deputies turned the investigation over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
"That is a lot of marijuana," White said. "A combination of OnStar and good police work made this arrest possible."