|Troopers seize more than 60 lbs. of marijuana in weekend busts|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Dec. 4, 2006 - State troopers netted 63 pounds of marijuana and three felony arrests from two separate traffic stops over the weekend.
George B. Russell, 36, of Evansville, Ind., remained in the county jail early this morning on a charge of felony possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Joseph Hogue stopped a brown Chevrolet sport utility vehicle at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night on Interstate 30 for speeding.
Hogue noted that Russell, the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, “appeared fatigued.” Russell said he was driving back from Houston, where he had gone to learn how to install sheetrock, but was returning home because he “didn’t learn anything,” according to arrest reports.
After a driver’s license check by communications operators showed Russell to have a criminal history, which included drug and weapons offenses, the trooper asked for permission to search the SUV. Russell refused, and the trooper called for a canine to conduct a “sniff search” around the vehicle.
Sulphur Springs Police Sgt. Jason Ricketson arrived a short while later with canine Barry. The dog gave a positive alert on the vehicle, giving the officers probable cause to inspect the SUV. They found 60 pounds of marijuana.
Hogue wasn’t the only state trooper to make a felony arrest this weekend. At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, DPS Trooper David Reynolds arrested Dustin Ray White, 23, of Amelia, Ohio, and Laura Katherine Elliott, 24, of Cincinnati, Ohio, for possession of more than four ounces but less than five pounds of marijuana.
Reynolds stopped the pair for speeding in a red Toyota Camry between the 129 and 130 mile markers on I-30 east. The trooper detected an odor of burned marijuana in the car. Both admitted to smoking pot earlier in the day, giving the trooper probable cause to search their car.
He arrested both after finding a tape-wrapped bundle, later determined to contain marijuana, in the bottom of an ice cooler. The pot weighed in at 3 pounds, resulting in the state jail felony charge.
Both White and Elliott were released from the county jail Sunday after securing $5,000 bonds on the possession of marijuana charges.