HILLSBOROUGH (FOX 13) -The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office thwarted a massive pharmaceutical drug heist during an undercover sting that resulted in the arrest of two truck drivers.
April 16th, detectives arrested Jose Levy-Ibanez, 46, and Arnaldo Zaldivar, 53, on several drug related and grand theft charges.
The day before, a confidential informant tipped off the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
"We received information that there was going to be a hijacking of a tractor trailer full of pharmaceuticals," Maj. J.R. Burton said.
According to the sheriff's office, Ibanez was hired to drive the truck from a pharmaceutical warehouse in Lakeland to one in Atlanta, GA.
Instead, deputies say, Ibanez met up with Zaldivar at a truck stop in Sumter County, the two disabled a GPS unit in the truck and switched places.
Ibanez continued north toward Atlanta with the GPS unit now in a car, and Zaldivar drove the truck south toward Tampa.
"We, of course, had surveillance on the truck the entire time," Maj. Burton said.
Undercover detectives arranged to buy a portion of the load from Zaldivar at a truck stop off U.S. 301 north of I-4.
"He then parked, met our undercover detective. They negotiated a price for the load, and at that point we arrested him," Maj. Burton said.
The sheriff's office believes the truck was destined for Miami possibly to be smuggled overseas.
"A load that size you have to have a pretty large scale buyer. That's not something that you would disperse out on the street," Maj. Burton said.