A San Jose, CA psychiatrist, Charles Preston, got a little more than he bargained for when is newly purchased Chrysler van came equipped with more than half a million dollars worth of cocaine hidden inside it. He purchased the 2008 van from a Thrifty Car Sales in May of 2010 because of it’s pristine condition but then he noticed the windows wouldn’t roll down all the way. It was his first used car and because he got such a great deal on it, he didn’t worry much about the window.
But when the brakes started making funny noises, he decided to take it to a mechanic. The mechanic noticed the window issue and he ended up taking the door apart down to the frame. Surprise, surprise, 14 tablet sized packages of cocaine cleanly wrapped and meticulously placed into the cars frame. Police were immediately called and when the car was looked into further, they found 5 more packages in the wheel area.
Now Preston is in fear of his life, and rightfully so. (Although I don’t think putting your name in a newspaper article is exactly keeping a low profile.)
“It’s absolutely dangerous,” said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a police spokesman. “If somebody is motivated to track down that van and doesn’t want any witnesses, then some physical harm could come to the owner. That’s a lot of dope to be misplaced.”
The police further warned him that there could be a tracking device on the vehicle and that he should have it checked out and get rid of it as soon as possible. Then they handed him the keys back…….WTF! Shouldn’t they have offered to hold it in their impound for a while instead of giving it back to the guy and having him park it in front of his house?
“I just want to get rid of the van. I don’t want it in front of my house,” he said. “Somebody could just come and want the car and run me off the road. When I drive now, I’m always looking around.”
When Preston tried to return the coke-mobile to Thrifty Car Sales this summer for one without drugs, he said a manager was anything but solicitous. She told him he could trade in the van, but only for the current Blue Book value — about $4,000 less by his estimation than he originally paid. He had put about 6,000 miles on the van.
Preston refused to take a loss on the vehicle.
“It took me a long time to save the $14,000 for the van,” he said. “I should get what I paid for it in trade-in value.”
Ron Battistella, the owner of Thrifty Car Sales, said that’s not what he wanted conveyed to Preston, and he’s now willing to replace the van with a drug-free ride.
At least Preston is looking at the bright-side of this situation though.
“When someone says, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ ” he said, “I’ll finally have something interesting to talk about.”