A Franklin County drug bust last week led authorities to seize more drugs and money in Texas and Oklahoma.
Detective Cpl. Scott Briggs of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit said officers staging a drug interdiction operation last Thursday stopped an SUV after the driver failed to stop at a stop sign on the Interstate 44 South Service Road east of St. Clair.
The unit’s drug dog, Rascal, alerted on the car and that led officers to a compartment under the floorboards where they found approximately 225 pounds of marijuana.
During questioning, two Hispanic men in the SUV, both in their mid-20s, admitted that they had been stopped in 2010 for smuggling marijuana, Briggs said.
They told officers that they had left El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday with the latest shipment bound for Indianapolis.
Briggs said they agreed to cooperate with investigators and provided information that led officers to a “stash” house in El Paso where they seized about 200 pounds of marijuana, three vehicles and $10,000 cash.
The marijuana, Briggs said, was being brought across the
border from Mexico and stored at the “stash” house until it could be shipped out to places like Indiana and Oklahoma.
Based on other information provided by the men, narcotics officers here contacted the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics which led to the search of a used car business. There, agents arrested one man and seized 8 pounds of marijuana and a handgun, Briggs said.
Investigators continue to work on tracking the source of the marijuana, he said.
Later Thursday, officers stopped a rented car in the same area east of St. Clair and questioned the driver, a man in his mid-20s, who said he was on his way from Arizona to Ohio.
Officers then found 8 pounds of “medical grade” marijuana inside a large speaker box in the car’s trunk.
During questioning, the man told officers that he had purchased the marijuana at a farmers’ market in Phoenix.
People with medical marijuana cards can purchase small amounts of marijuana from sellers at the market, Briggs said. However, the man said larger amounts of marijuana can be purchased outside of the market, he added.
The suspect, who was released later on his own recognizance, said he was en route to Ohio to deliver the marijuana.
Officers are working to determine the location of the farmers’ market described by the man, Briggs said.