A motor home with California plates was eastbound on Interstate 80 this week when deputies pulled it over for driving on the shoulder of the highway.
Deputies seized $2.5 million worth of cocaine after searching a motor home on Interstate 80.
Inside the $200,000 motor home sat a couple and their 21-year-old daughter — and $2.5 million in cocaine, hidden in a floorboard compartment.
"It looked like a normal, happy family," recalled Sgt. Ed Van Buren, of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. "The daughter was holding a puppy."
A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of more than 235 pounds of individually wrapped "bricks" of cocaine. The Sheriff's Office announced the bust Friday, calling it the department's biggest cocaine seizure ever, Van Buren said.
During the early afternoon traffic stop Monday, near 96th Street in Omaha, family members said they were traveling from California to Kansas City, Mo., to visit relatives. But when deputies interviewed the mother and father, the couple could not get their stories straight, Van Buren said.
"The wife said they were visiting cousins on the husband's side," Van Buren said. "The husband said he was visiting family on both sides. He didn't know the names of the cousins. He also said he had friends there but couldn't recall their names. He said he hadn't seen the cousins in five to six years. A minute later he said he saw them last month."
After further discrepancies, the family allowed deputies to look inside the vehicle. Aware of popular places to hide contraband, deputies looked at the undercarriage of the vehicle and noticed something strange. They took the vehicle back to the Sheriff's Office, where they removed the vehicle's carpet and found a hidden floor access.
Inside a secret compartment were plastic bag packages of cocaine that had been heat-sealed and wrapped in green cellophane. The packages were labeled with writing authorities said could have indicated shipment destinations.
The driver, Jose Melendez, 54, his wife, Virginia Melendez, and their daughter Virginia Melendez Ramirez, 21, were arrested. They were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The case was forwarded to federal prosecutors.