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Second Largest Marijuana Bust in Preble County
PREBLE COUNTY -- Thousands of pounds of pot are off our streets thanks to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
It's the second largest seizure in the state, worth nearly $12 million.
Preble County also holds the record for the largest amount of marijuana seized, which was 3,100 pounds.
It all went down Saturday afternoon, June 15, on I-70.
"They drove three-quarters of the way across the country and we got them 13 miles into the State of Ohio," said OSHP Lt. Jon Payer.
Lt. Payer is proud of his unit.
"It's a significant seizure here in Ohio," said Lt. Payer.
More than 2,300 pounds of marijuana was found inside a Uhaul truck.
"Wow, that's a lot," said Carrie Goeman.
It was tucked away behind old furniture, dirty mattresses and a broken dirt bike.
"There's no doubt in my mind that those items were placed there to discourage us from searching that vehicle," said Lt. Payer.
So let's break it down: There are 453 grams in a pound, with the 2,300 pounds discovered, that adds up to more than a million marijuana cigarettes.
"You don't always know if you saved a life or not, but our statistics, research and day-to-day common sense will tell you by removing that 2,300 pounds we've made a significant impact on the quality-of-life issues in the State of Ohio," said Lt. Payer.
The pounds of pot and the two driving the truck, Hector Olea-Castro and Mario Mendoza, are all off the street.
And in this case, the seizure made the streets of Ohio safer, because troopers say those drugs were headed for the Buckeye State.
And for those driving Ohio's highways they appreciate our troopers' hard work.
"I think they're doing a good job, keep up the good work," said Goeman.
The two men driving the Uhaul remained in jail, as of Monday night, and face possession of marijuana charges. If convicted they face up to eight years in prison.
The same State Patrol drug unit also holds records for the top meth busts, once again, in Preble County.
LEWISBURG -- Two men are facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say they seized 2,330 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $11.6 million, following a traffic stop in Preble County.
This is the second-largest marijuana seizure in Patrol history. The largest seizure occurred in 2005 when troopers seized 3,181 pounds of marijuana, also in Preble County.
Troopers say they stopped a 2014 Ford U-Haul, with Arizona registration, for a Following Too Closely violation on I-70, near milepost 13, at 2:26 p.m. June 14. Troopers say they observed criminal indicators and a Preble County Sheriff's Office drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed 84 bundles of compressed marijuana, weighing 2,330 pounds.
The driver, Mario Arnold Mendoza, 29, of Port Arther, Texas, and passenger, Hector Andres Olea-Castro, 30, from Tijuana, Mexico, were incarcerated in the Preble County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a second-degree felony.
If convicted, each could face up to eight years in prison and up to a $7,500 fine.
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