Carrier disappears, jury acquits driver arrested for cocaine smuggling

| 6/16/2011

Bizarre circumstances surrounded a drug trafficking arrest last year from the get-go. The company for which the driver worked quietly folded without a trace and didn’t even try to get its truck back from authorities.

Those bizarre circumstances resulted in the truck driver’s acquittal this week.

In February 2010, Arizona DPS officer pulled over a company driver with a 1995 Kenworth. Upon close inspection, the trooper noticed the Kenworth’s sleeper floor didn’t feature a stepdown as did standard sleepers typical of that model and year.

Inside a hidden compartment, police found $3.5 million in cocaine, leading them to charge the driver with transporting narcotics.

On Tuesday, an Arizona jury acquitted the driver, Margarito Lujano, after deliberating for only 45 minutes.

Linda Moore, Lujano’s attorney, said jurors appeared to be swayed by two important facts: the motor carrier closing up shop and not attempting to recover the truck and sloppy police work.

“The company forfeited, voluntarily, a $40,000 tractor without even fighting for it; then they conveniently disappeared,” Moore told Land Line Now. “I think the jury was very much swayed by my client’s testimony and the fact that the county did zero follow-up.”

Land Line Now Reporter Reed Black contributed to this report.