Police: Leesburg man suspected of recruiting drug smugglers

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LEESBURG, Fla. - A Leesburg man is accused of recruiting truck drivers for a major marijuana-smuggling operation.

Undercover deputies introduced one of their confidential informants to alleged drug traffickers.

The informant happened to be a truck driver in Lake County, so investigators followed as he drove a truckload of drugs to Chicago.

According to court documents, Lake County sheriff's investigators learned Santos Gomez, 42, was recruiting truck drivers for the drug-trafficking organization.

After undercover deputies put Gomez in contact with the informant, Gomez had the driver head to south Texas, pick up a tractor-trailer and take it to Chicago, authorities said.

Gomez paid the informant $25,000 and called him along the way to check in, authorities said.

Once in Chicago, police followed the truck to a warehouse. Inside, police said they found $20 million worth of pot.

Finding the pot wasn't obvious at first, but it wasn't obvious at first as the smugglers concealed the marijuana inside bundles of cilantro.

Investigators aren't saying how big the pot operation is or if they think Gomez was successful in recruiting other central Florida truck drivers to transport the drugs.

Gomez is being extradited to Texas to face charges. Three others in Texas have also been charged in the case.