A multi-agency investigation involving Santa Monica police resulted in the seizure of 47 kilograms of cocaine and nearly $2.4 million in U.S. currency earlier this month, authorities said.
The operation began Jan. 5 when task force officers from the Santa Monica Police Department, El Monte Police Department, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents along with the Costa Mesa Police Department, conducted surveillance of a suspect as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Toronto, Canada.
The suspect, Vasile Babuschin, was allegedly identified in a previous major cocaine seizure, Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Trisler said.
Federal agents and investigators followed the suspect to a residence in North Hollywood that was identified as a suspected drug residence as well as to a warehouse and semi-truck in Valencia, Trisler said.
Law enforcement agencies executed three search warrants in Valencia and North Hollywood at 9:55 p.m. Jan. 12, and after searching the warehouse in Valencia they discovered 47 kilograms of cocaine and more than $2 million in United States currency, Trisler said. The Los Angeles County Fire Department assisted by cutting open a safe at the location.
Two suspects, Babuschin and Sergei Souetov, both Canadian citizens, were arrested and transported to the Santa Monica Police Department Jail, Trisler said. Both suspects have been booked for narcotics charges, he said.