Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A technician found hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine in the nose of an American Airlines plane on Monday, and investigators are unsure how it got there -- though they have a theory.
An American Airlines technician was working on a plane in Tulsa, Okla., Monday sent there for routine maintenance, when he discovered seven bricks of cocaine valued at $434,000 packed into the nose of the aircraft.
Authorities say they are unsure how it got there, but they think the 30 pounds of cocaine, but they've got a theory, based on the plane's original flight path: Bogota, Colombia, to Miami, Fla.
"That's a lot of cocaine, so we suspect cartel involvement," Casey Roebuck, spokesperson for the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, told The Tulsa World. "That's why we're turning it over to the DEA [in Miami]."
The Boeing 757 landed Sunday in Miami and was scheduled for maintenance. The airport was backed up, so American sent it to Tulsa instead.
While checking the plane out, maintenance crew members discovered several bricks in what they said was new insulation in the nose of the plane. Each of the bricks was covered with wheel grease, which Roebuck said may have been done to try to prevent dogs from sniffing out the blocks.
This is the second time in three years that large quantities of cocaine have been found in an American Airlines plane. In 2015, law enforcement found 26 pounds in another Boeing 757 that had flown to Miami from Bogota.