BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Early Thursday morning, Baton Rouge Police pulled over a commercial bus that was traveling eastbound on I-12. The bus, El Expresso, was headed to Mobile, AL. Police say the bus was pulled over for a traffic violation, but the K-9 Narcotics unit was called because it is common for people to try and smuggle contraband on this type of bus.
While the Highway Interdiction Unit (HIDTA) were searching the luggage cargo area around 2:15 a.m., a narcotic's K-9 was alerted to a suitcase that contained 48 candles of methamphetamine mixed in wax, disguised as candles. Those candles weighed 72 pounds. They also found four larger candles, weighing 41 pounds, containing meth in the wax.
Police say none of the passengers admitted to owning the bag with the candles. While searching the bag, police found a photo of a man in the bag. Police were able to match the photo to a passenger on the bus.
A 19-year-old man from Houston, TX, identified as Jose Antonio Rodriguez-Lara, was arrested and charged with distribution and manufacturing of schedule II drugs.
Once Rodriguez-Lara was placed under arrest, he admitted the candles and the luggage were his, according to the police report.
He was taken to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison where he is being held on a $30,000 bond.
Police say Rodriguez-Lara was headed to Atlanta, GA.