Two stops lead to 135 lbs. of pot

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 13, 2007 - For the second consecutive day, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Joseph Hogue confiscated more than 50 pounds of marijuana, following unrelated stops which ultimately resulted in two felony arrests and seizure of 135 pounds of marijuana.

Hogue made the first stop at 8:15 p.m. Monday on Interstate 30. While speaking with  driver Brent Matthew Burns, 23, of Mount Pleasant, he noted Burns to be nervous. The man indicated he was tired, and told Hogue he was traveling from the Bass Pro Shops in the Metroplex area and visiting his girlfriend, but didn’t know the name of the street or exit to take to get to her residence. He also indicated he did not have her phone number, according to arrest reports.

While speaking with Burns, Hogue detected a marijuana odor inside the four-door Chevrolet car. He conducted a search, finding two ice coolers in the rear of the vehicle. Inside the walls of at least one cooler, Hogue found about 60 pounds of marijuana, resulting in Burns' arrest for possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

The second stop was made by Hogue at 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, also on I-30, and resulted in another man going to jail for having 75 pounds of marijuana.

According to reports, Hogue stopped Michaca Gregorio Vazquez, 33, of Col Prados De Salvarcar, Juarez, Mexico, for committing a traffic violation in a blue Chevrolet pickup on I-30 east.

Vazquez told the trooper he was traveling to  to Little Rock for vacation. Further investigation revealed that Vazquez only had one change of clothes, which was suspicious to the trooper, who obtained Vazquez's search the truck.

After noting that the gas tank appeared to be tampered with, Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Buddy Williams was contacted to run his canine around the truck. The dog, Atos, alerted for illegal substances and contraband. The dog alerted on the gas tank, where a more thorough search by officers revealed 75 pounds of marijuana. Vazquez was charged with possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.

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