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Authorities from L.A.-area task force seize 43 kilos of cocaine, $2.3 million in cash [Updated]

January 17, 2011 |  5:29 pm

Confiscated cash Two men were booked into the Santa Monica jail on drug charges after a multi-agency task force seized 47 kilograms of cocaine and $2.3 million in cash, police said Monday.

The task force of federal agents and local police officers uncovered the cash and cocaine Wednesday at a Valencia warehouse after serving search warrants at three Los Angeles-area locations, said the Santa Monica Police Department, whose officers were part of the effort.

Vasile Babuschin and Sergei Souetov, both Canadian citizens, were arrested and booked on narcotics charges, police said.

Babuschin was detained as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Canada. He led investigators to suspected drug-storage locations, according to police.

[Updated Jan. 18, 10:17 a.m.: An attorney for Babuschin, Ronald Richards of Beverly Hills, rebutted police officials' contention that Babuschin was arrested at LAX, saying Babuschin was already in Southern California at the time of the drug bust. Richards also denied that Babuschin led investigators to  suspected drug-storage locations.]

The money was in a safe that had to be cut open by firefighters.

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-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Confiscated cash. Credit: Santa Monica Police Department

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