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When Charles Preston purchased a used Chrysler minivan for $14,000 in May 2010, he thought he was getting a pretty good deal. The 2008 vehicle was in pristine condition and had power steering, foldaway seats and tinted windows. So what if the windows wouldn’t roll down all the way?

The van came with one extra Preston hadn’t asked for — half a million dollars’ worth of cocaine, hidden inside the frame.

Preston discovered the cellophane-wrapped packages of cocaine — the drugs were the reason the windows weren’t working — when he took the van to have its brakes checked in August, the Mercury News reported on Sunday. The San Jose, Calif., psychologist immediately reported the find to police, who told him to have the van checked for a tracking device, and then get rid of it.

“People make jokes — ‘Oh, you should have sold it,'” Preston told the Mercury News. “But honestly, I’ve never been so scared in my life, even when I was mugged in New York.”

San Jose police said Preston’s worries are justified, the newspaper reported:

“It’s absolutely dangerous,” said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a police spokesman. “If somebody is motivated to track down that van and doesn’t want any witnesses, then some physical harm could come to the owner. That’s a lot of dope to be misplaced.”

Police were unable to trace the cocaine to a particular source or dealers, the Mercury News reported, but its packaging indicated that it may have been intended for long-distance travel. 

Risks of buying rental cars:  The van had been owned at one time by a rental car company, and may have been rented by someone who used it for smuggling.  

The chance that a car has been used for illegal activities is one risk of buying a former rental car. Rental cars are one common overland means of smuggling drugs into the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.