Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers have twice seized a large amount of marijuana from motorists on the Ohio Turnpike in Wood County in a two-day span.
On July 20, troopers stopped a 2013 Chevrolet Traverse around 8 p.m. for a speeding violation on the turnpike in Lake Township.
After a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle, troopers searched it and found 27 vacuum sealed bundles of marijuana, weighing a total of 33 pounds.
The estimated street value is $149,820, the patrol said.
The driver, Joseph M. Darrah, 30, Felton, Pa., was incarcerated in the Wood County jail and charged with possession and trafficking in marijuana, both third-degree felonies.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000, according to the patrol, which said the Traverse was rented and had a Montana registration.
Pot, cash seized
On July 18, troopers seized marijuana with an estimated street value of more than $4.1 million and $13,908 in cash after two related traffic stops on the turnpike.
About 907 pounds of marijuana were seized and six men face felony charges after the stop in Lake Township.
A trooper observed a rented 2014 Subaru Outback, with Massachusetts registration, following too closely to a motor home that was also following a vehicle too closely.
The trooper attempted to stop both vehicles at 9:04 a.m. but was only able to stop the Subaru at milepost 71 and detected an odor of raw marijuana coming from the vehicle and observed marijuana on the driver’s pants. A search of the vehicle revealed $9,720 in bundled cash.
Troopers were able to determine the occupants of the Subaru and motor home were traveling together and located the motor home about a half-hour later at a turnpike service plaza. A search of that vehicle revealed the marijuana and $4,188 in cash.
Frankie Junior Layz, 22, who was driving the Subaru and his passenger, William Luciano, Jr., 33, both of Rochester, New York, and those in the motor home, Justine T. Gould, 27, of Rochester, Jimmy Pross, Jr., 35, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Jose M. Manzanares, 36, Houston, Texas, were incarcerated in the Wood County jail.
They’ve been charged with possession of marijuana and trafficking, both second degree felonies, money laundering, a third-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.
One suspect who was in the motor home fled with his 7-year-old son. The highway patrol described him as a known drug dealer in the Rochester area and said he plans to turn himself in to authorities.