LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Police busted two houses in Okolona and seized thousands of pounds of pot hidden in the garage. Neighbors who live on the quiet, tree-lined street had no clue it was linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
Sean Clark and his friends witnessed the massive marijuana bust across the street.
"They opened the garage and there was up to the ceiling in bags of pot. It was crazy," Clark said.
The Louisville Metro Narcotics Unit took trash bags full of 2,416 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $2.6 million. They seized more than $1 million in cold hard cash.
"All of a sudden these guys start running up the streets with these guns and going to the house and yelling search warrant, search warrant," Clark said.
"They had a pickaxe trying to open the door. I guess they just broke the window and got in," Clark's friend said.
An eight-month investigation uncovered the drug trafficking ring. Rauda Maritzein-Rangel, 20, Elias Vazquez-Garcia, 34, Evelia Macias-Farias, 39 and Horacio Magana, 22, are locked up. They are admitted illegal immigrants from Mexico now facing drug charges.
"What they were doing was bringing the drugs up from Mexico from whatever route they were taking. Louisville is a jump off point," Lt. Rich Pearson with the LMPD Narcotics Unit said.
Police searched two homes at the 6300 block of Hackberry Way and 10000 block of Winding River Way.
When WHAS11 knocked on the door at Winding River Way, someone answered and then shut the door.
Hidden in normal neighborhoods with children, detectives say this group was part of a pipeline to smuggle drugs to the rest of the country.
One neighbor says at least one of the men arrested worked to reconstruct and remodel homes.
"Very, very shocking in this neighborhood because it's usually pretty quiet around here," Vicki Morton said.
Police say it was a disguise with dangerous ties to the Zeta Mexican drug cartel, a group that is so violent there may be retaliation.
The Narcotics Unit doesn't know how long the group has lived in Okolona or the length of time they have been trafficking drugs. But there may be more arrests.
"I'm wondering what other house has all this in it too. It's pretty scary to know that," Clark said.