Deputies: Framed art used to transport cocaine to Ocala



OCALA, Fla. - Gabriel Ayala-Quinones was in the middle of cutting open framed artwork to reveal the cocaine inside when Orange County and Marion County officials busted him.

That piece of artwork was being used to deliver drugs to Ocala, investigators said.

Officials in Marion and Orange counties worked together to bust the operation.

Agents with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said they found a package in Orlando containing cocaine that was being delivered to an Ocala address.

The Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team in Ocala set up an operation to track the delivery.

Strike team agents watched as Oscar Ortiz, the man whose name was on the package, signed off on the delivery and put it in his truck.

Agents followed Ortiz to an apartment complex where he dropped it off and left.

They obtained search warrants and found Ayala-Quinones sitting at the kitchen table of the apartment, cutting open the metal frame of the artwork with a lot of money lying on the table and a money counter.

Investigators said they found 800 grams of cocaine in the kitchen freezer.

Ayala-Quinones was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail.

Agents disassembled the framed artwork and found 5.5 kilograms of powder cocaine.

They said they found 5,100 grams of cocaine and $10,500 in total.

Ayala-Quinones was charged with one count of trafficking cocaine over 400 grams and bond was set at $250,000.