MIAMI – Authorities are searching for a local trucker who disappeared two weeks ago along with the 3.6 million nickels he was transporting to the Federal Reserve Bank in New Orleans (search), Miami-Dade County police said Friday.
Angel Ricardo Mendoza (search), 43, had picked up the coins, worth $180,000, on Dec. 17 from the Federal Reserve in New Jersey. He was to drive the nickels, weighing 45,000 pounds, to New Orleans for a trucking company subcontracted by the Federal Reserve, police said.
The name of the company was not released.
On Dec. 21, Mendoza's truck and trailer were found empty at a truck stop in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Miami-Dade's cargo task force, which includes the FBI and the Federal Reserve police, are investigating.
Mendoza is a Miami-Dade County resident, but has no family in the area. Police said he has a wife who lives in Cuba.
"We are concerned for his safety because he's missing," Miami-Dade Detective Randy Rossman said. "We suspect foul play. We are concerned and we are still investigating."
Rossman couldn't speculate on how anyone would cash in or spend so many nickels.