ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Federal agents who were investigating a drug trafficking tip found 260 pounds of marijuana when the vehicle they were following crashed on Interstate 4 in Orange County, bringing a high-speed chase to an end.
The investigation began when an agent from the Department of Homeland Security received a tip that an aircraft landing at Orlando Executive Airport around 1 a.m. Monday might be transporting narcotics, according to a criminal complaint.
Agents arrived at the airport before the plane landed from Sonoma, Calif., and watched as an unidentified man, Chayla Archambault, and an unidentified woman removed several suitcases and load them into an Infiniti SUV, the report said.
After the suitcases were loaded into the vehicle, Archambault got in the driver's seat and Cesar Martins, the man who drove the SUV to the airport, got into the passenger's seat. They left the airport at the same time as a red Jeep that had parked near the aircraft, agents said.
Authorities watched as both vehicles were driven onto westbound State Road 408, then I-4. An Orange County deputy who was assisting with surveillance attempted to pull the Infiniti over for speeding in a construction zone, but the vehicle continued to speed, according to the criminal complaint.
Agents said the high-speed pursuit ended when the SUV crashed near Kirkman Road, ejecting Martins from the passenger seat and trapping Archambault in the driver's seat.
After the suspects were rescued from the crash, authorities said they found several pieces of luggage containing 260 pounds worth of packaged marijuana. News 6 found out that amount of marijuana is worth over half a million dollars.
Archambault and Martins were arrested after being treated for their crash-related injuries. Investigators are recommending they both be charged with trying to distribute marijuana.