false compartment

Nebraska State Patrol troopers found 117 pounds of cocaine and fentanyl inside a false compartment in a semitrailer on April 26.

State troopers seized nearly 120 pounds of cocaine and fentanyl hidden inside a false compartment in a semitrailer stopped on Interstate 80 near Kearney last week, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.

A Nebraska State Patrol trooper pulled over an eastbound Freightliner that was driving on the shoulder April 26, spokesman Cody Thomas said.

The trooper became suspicious of unspecified criminal activity and searched the semi, Thomas said in a news release.

The trailer had U.S. mail markers and appeared empty, according to court documents, but the Patrol said the trooper found a false compartment inside containing 42 foil-wrapped packages with 73 pounds of cocaine and 44 pounds of an unknown powder suspected to be fentanyl were hidden.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Investigators estimated the street value of the drugs between $5 million and $10 million, Thomas said.

Troopers did not field test the drugs during the stop because of the potency of the suspected fentanyl, and further tests will be completed at the State Patrol's Crime Lab, he said.

The driver of the truck, Felipe Genao-Minaya, 46, and passenger Nelson Nunez, 52, both of New Jersey, were arrested and taken to the Buffalo County jail.

Prosecutors have charged them with possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver. The charges could be amended since further testing confirmed some of the packages contained cocaine.

They both remained in jail Tuesday on $100,000 bond.

If confirmed by state lab testing, the seizure of fentanyl would be the largest in the state's history, Thomas said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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