$224K of cocaine seized Monday during traffic stop on Interstate 30

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

March 25, 2008 - Interdiction officers Monday night seized 5 pounds or $224,000 worth cocaine found in the lining of a jacket and arrested two men on aggravated felony possession charges.

Lowell Warren Ward, 42, of Chicago, and Craige Jerome Preston, 36, of Detroit, Mich., were still being held late Tuesday morning in the county jail, where they were arraigned by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King who set bond at $200,000 each on the possession of a controlled substance charge, according to jail records

Sulphur Springs Police Lt. "Buddy" Cleve Williams and Sgt. Jason Ricketson, who were working together last night, stopped a maroon 1998 model Lincoln Town Car with West Virginia plates at the 121 mile marker on Interstate 30 east for a traffic violation.

The driver was identified as Craige Jerome Preston, who listed a Hunnington, W.Va. address on identification information but was said to be from Chicago, and the passenger as Lowell Warren Ward.

While talking with the pair, Williams noted them to be especially nervous and to have a detectable "appearance of deception." As a result, the officers requested and were granted permission to search the car. They were asked to exit the vehicle.

While patting down the passenger, Williams felt something in Ward's jacket. An inspection of the jacket quickly revealed that the bottom seam of the jacket had been ripped out and the lining pulled back. Several vacuum-sealed packets containing powered cocaine were taped with large black tape to the inside lining of the jacket, then the lining put back. When both men claimed no knowledge of the substance, both were arrested for aggravated first-degree felony possession of more than 400 grams of the controlled substance cocaine and taken to jail by police officer Matt Glenn, according to Lt. Williams.

Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers Brian Worley and Bill Reese then assisted Williams and Ricketson in getting the car to the sheriff's office so that it could be further checked out. Police seized the car and have started paper work beginning the process to try to have the vehicle forfeited to police for law enforcement purposes.

The cocaine was placed on a scale and determined to weigh about 5 pounds, which carries a wholesale value of about $13,000 a pound. That's about $224,000 worth cocaine that did not make it out on the streets, where broken down it would likely have been sold for $100 a gram, which amounts to about $44,800 a pound, Williams said.

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