More than 100 lbs. of marijuana seized on Interstate 30 Tuesday

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Local authorities made a dent in marijuana trafficking Tuesday afternoon with two arrests, one resulting from an interstate traffic stop and another at a local apartment complex.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Sulphur Springs Police Sgt. Jason Ricketson and canine Barry seized about 115 bundles of marijuana and arrested an Indiana man during a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon.

The biggest bust was credited to SSPD Sgt. Jason Ricketson and canine Barry. Ricketson stopped a brown Buick LeSabre at 2:54 p.m. at the 138 mile marker on Interstate 30 east for a traffic violation. The driver and sole occupant of the rental car with Indiana registration was identified as 27-year-old Alden Lee McLellan of Valparaiso, Ind. 

McLellan was noted to be extremely nervous, and based on other indicators, Ricketson asked for permission to search the car. When McLellan refused, Ricketson retrieved his canine partner, Barry, from his patrol vehicle. Barry gave a positive alert on the trunk, giving Ricketson probable cause to conduct a search. The officer found three larege plastic-wrapped blocks of marijuana. 

Ricketson took McLellan into custody. He was charged with second-degree felony possession of about 115 pounds of marijuana.

�That 100 pounds of marijuana was destined somewhere else to be distributed,� Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said Wednesday morning. �Because of Sgt. Ricketson�s seizure, that community won�t be subject to 100 pounds in the community to destroy lives.�

At about the same time as the traffic stop, Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Special Crimes Unit Lt. Ron Plaxco, Sgt. Harold McClure and Sgt. Tony Crouse were following up on tip. 

�We received information a couple of days ago of possible narcotics activity at an apartment complex here in the city,� SCU Lt. Ron Plaxco said Wednesday morning.

Following up on the information, the SCU officers conducted a “knock and talk,” going to the apartment to speak to a man regarding the allegations. During the course of that conversation, the investigators learned there was marijuana in the apartment. They seized at least six small bags packaged for sale, as well as one larger bag with marijuana not yet packaged for sale, according to Plaxco.

The 19-year-old man was arrested on a Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana with the intent to sale charge. Officers said the arrest and seizure is significant in that it prevented the marijuana from being distributed to residents in Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County.

�SCU�s job is to have an impact on Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County,� Plaxco said. �We seized a quantity destined for here on the streets for our youth or adults. That amount will not be on our streets.�

Bayuk praised both the interdiction officer and SCU investigators for their work in “taking down” narcotics which affect our community and other community on both the large and small scale.

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