Expensive Haul

Two men accused of smuggling a quantity of high-grade marijuana were arrested Monday by Franklin County narcotics officers.

Investigators seized more than 30 pounds of marijuana said to have a street value of between $90,000 and $100,000.

The men, ages 34 and 26, were taken into custody on a parking lot in St. Clair after they avoided a drug interdiction checkpoint on Interstate 44, east of St. Clair, according to Cpl. Scott Briggs of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

Briggs said the men were en route from California to New York with the shipment. He said a drug-sniffing dog from the Pacific Police department alerted on the car’s trunk.

In the trunk, officers found three large suitcases packed with marijuana in one pound bags.

Briggs said officers believe that the high-grade marijuana is being cultivated at a large-scale growing operation in California and that more shipments like the one seized Wednesday are passing through Missouri.

Briggs said the suspects were released on the condition that they return to California and work with federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigators there.

If they don’t cooperate or abscond, the task force here will seek felony charges and have the men returned to Franklin County, Briggs said.