Bizarre Hiding Spots: Police Find Drugs In Fire Extinguisher

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, July 23 2013 at 6:19 PM, Updated: Tue, July 23 2013 at 6:30 PM

From neatly wrapped presents to fire extinguishers, police say they've seen just about everything when it comes to people desperate to hide drugs.

It so happened on Monday, police said it was a fire extinguisher that turned up the heat for 20-year-old Maria De Jesus, Beltran-Leon who was traveling on a public bus through the Rogue Valley on Monday.

"Three pounds of meth was secreted inside a fire extinguisher," said Lt. Brett Johnson with the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team.

Police said this is just one of the many unique and bizarre ways people try to hide drugs.

"I've seen it hidden in children's toys," said Lt. Johnson.

"If there's a place to hide something, they've used it."

MADGE officials said they get the majority of their drug tips from informants.

They also often work with other agencies to nab drugs passing through on the I-5 corridor.

"We work with the DEA, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations [...] everybody works together real closely, it's a team effort."

It really does take a team effort when say, a car is pulled over. From hidden side panels to tire wells, to almost anywhere else, officials said they've seen people try their hardest to fool police. 

"There's nothing that's unusual anymore in hiding drugs," Lt. Johnson said.

In the end, for police, it's all about adapting.

"They change their tactics so we have to change ours. It's a cat and mouse kind of world."

Meanwhile, Beltran-Leon is behind bars at the Jackson County Jail on $510,000 bail. She's charged with unlawful delivery and possession of meth...all due to a tip and a fire extinguisher.

Police knew to look inside the fire extinguisher because they usually look for things in plain view and people carrying items that just don't make much sense...like a fire extinguisher.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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