Juan Pablo Valencia Gonzales, a 30-year-old Colombian who is a former professional cyclist with UCI Pro Continental Team Colombia was arrested this week in Montegranaro in the Italian region of Marche. Gonzales is charged with trafficking drugs between Northern Italy where he got the cocaine and transporting it to Montegranaro for sale.
The investigation began at the beginning of January when the Italian military police, the Carabinieri, were tipped off about a young foreigner transporting drugs between Northern Italy and
according to Il Resto del Carlino. The investigation proved more complicated than first anticipated because Valencia didn’t have a permanent residence in the town instead, leaning on friends who were unaware of his drug trafficking.
Once the carabinieri identified the house they believed the man trafficking drugs was staying in, they were able to identify Valencia when he exited the house on a mountain bike. Before being arrested, he tried to dispose of two bags but they were easily recovered. Inside the bags, police found 17 cocaine packets containing 20 g of the illicit substance.
Valencia tried to misdirect the police away from his real home but with a set of keys on his person they were able to enter his apartment. Inside they discovered a trolley with an additional 40 g of pure cocaine, a substance that was used to cut or dilute the cocaine, an electronic spreader and €4,000 in cash.
During the police investigation, it emerged that Valencia was transporting cocaine with his bike. He allegedly would hide the cocaine in the seat tube. Police believe the bike was not just used to hide the cocaine but also to make deliveries.
Valencia completed the 2015 Vuelta a Espana and had some success in small one-day UCI races in Italy in 2012.