Clerk leads police to cocaine load

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Two men driving a new truck asked a gas station attendant for a quarter to make a phone call. The attendant became suspicious and alerted police to what became a major drug bust.

Summit County sheriff's deputies praised the unidentified attendant for his help in leading to the arrest of Matthew Harding, 19, of Franklin Township, and Leon Childs, 36, of Philadelphia, on one count each of aggravated trafficking.

"That's how cases get solved," Franklin Township Chief Dan Davidson said Monday.

His department and Summit County sheriff's deputies displayed a table heaped with 84 kilos of packaged cocaine taken Sunday from the 2003 Ford truck in which the two men were riding.

Police said it was the county's largest cocaine seizure. the previous record was 20 kilos.

Police said the attendant became suspicious because the men were acting strangely and because they said they didn't have any money, even though their truck costs more than $40,000.

A check of the truck's vehicle identification number indicated that it had been reported stolen from Oklahoma City.

The men's behavior made police suspicious, and they called for more officers and a drug-sniffing dog.

Cocaine was found in a half-dozen suitcases on the back seat of the truck's cab.

Police said each kilo is worth at least $22,000 to $25,000. Cocaine often is adulterated and sold for much more, so the actual value of the cocaine packages isn't known.

The two men are in the Summit County jail on $2 million cash bond each. They will be arraigned Friday in Barberton Municipal Court. Police said the case will be turned over to federal prosecutors.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)