50 lbs. of marijuana seized in traffic stop
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Jan. 24, 2007 - State troopers seized 50 pounds of marijuana and took two Tennessee men into custody Tuesday night following a routine traffic stop.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Joseph Hogue was credited with the stop and subsequent arrests.

The incident began at about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday when Hogue observed a blue Chevrolet Cobalt speeding on Interstate 30 east. Hogue initiated a traffic stop, identifying the driver as Nicholas Caesar Palanki, 21, of Cottage Grove, Tenn., and the passenger as Garron Derek Crafton, 23, of Paris, Tenn.

While speaking with Crafton and Palanki, Hogue became suspicious of the pair due to their nervousness. The Tennessee men further spiked his suspicions after giving conflicting information about their trip. Palanki said he was "coming from Dallas around Waco." Then both said they had been in Dallas for two days.

When asked about their luggage, they told the trooper they didn’t have any luggage or clothes with them, despite the length and distance of the trip, according to arrest reports.

Hogue asked permission to search the car for contraband. They agreed to let the trooper search the car, but only the front portion of it. When a marijuana odor was detected, Hogue initiated a probable cause search in the trunk of the car. 

Both Crafton and Palanki were placed under arrest for possession of at least 50 pounds of marijuana but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana after the trooper located 50 pounds of pot  in the trunk.

Hogue wasn't the only local officer to take someone into custody Tuesday for possession of illegal substances.

Cumby Police Sgt. Chris Bettis and Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Winn arrested Freddie DeJuan Johnson, 26, of Greenville at 5:17 a.m. Tuesday on County Road 4721 for possession of a controlled substance. Johnson was stopped for a minor traffic violation. While talking with the officers, he gave conflicting stories, which resulted in them asking to search his pickup. He agreed. A white powdery substance and a glass pipe were found in a purse under the passenger's side seat, according to sheriff's reports.

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