A routine traffic stop on the morning of Jan. 20 led to the discovery and seizure of more than 280 pounds of marijuana and marijuana edibles according to a report from the Texas Department of Public Safety. A 45-year-old man and a 35-year-old man have been taken into custody in connection with the seized drugs. Police believe the two men were transporting the drugs from the west coast to their home state of Florida.
The sequence of events began when a DPS deputy pulled a GMC work truck over on Interstate 20 near Kilgore in Gregg County at approximately 11.17 a.m. The deputy says that he initiated the traffic stop because the GMC truck was speeding and tailgating. According to accounts of the incident, the deputy called a K-9 unit to the scene after the men traveling in the truck acted suspiciously and gave unconvincing accounts of their travel plans.
During the ensuing vehicle search, deputies say that they found several duffel bags containing marijuana and marijuana edibles in an auxiliary fuel tank that had been fitted to the bed of the truck. After being taken into custody, the two Florida men were transported to the Gregg County Jail where they are each being held on bonds of $150,000.
Facts like these in cases involving serious drug charges are likely to prompt experienced criminal defense attorneys to study police reports very carefully. While warrantless searches are permitted in certain situations, police must be able to show that they had good reason to believe that evidence of ongoing criminal activity was being concealed. Police are also not permitted to prolong traffic stops in order to give K-9 units time to reach the scene.
Source: The Longview News-Journal, “Two Florida men caught with $1.5 million in marijuana, pot-filled edibles on I-20”, Jimmy Isaac, Jan. 21, 2019
Source: The Tyler Morning Telegraph, “2 Florida men arrested near Kilgore with more than 280 pounds of marijuana and edibles”, LouAnna Campbell, Jan. 21, 2019