The Summit County Sheriff's Office made a large drug bust recently thanks to a suspect who couldn't follow basic traffic laws. More than 400 pounds of marijuana were seized and four men arrested after what was originally just a routine traffic stop.
Details of the bust were released Monday.
On Aug. 4, Summit County Sheriff's deputy Brian Cunningham spotted a motorist coming up from behind at a high rate of speed. As soon as the motorist passed him, he abruptly slowed down and pulled in front of the deputy and behind a semitrailer, said sheriff's detective Joshua Wall.
Because of the erratic driving, Cunningham pulled over the motorist. The driver, William Phillips, told the deputy he was driving a friend's car, but then he said he did not know the name of his friend, Wall said. He also appeared to be very nervous when talking to the deputy, Wall said.
Cunningham, who happens to be a K9 handler, went back to his car to get his dog, Castor. The dog made multiple "hits" on the vehicle, indicating there were drugs in the pickup truck.
Fifty-three pounds of marijuana were found in the vehicle's cab initially. After more investigators were called, a more thorough check unveiled a total of 430 pounds of marijuana, Wall said. The drugs have an estimated street value of $3 million.
Phillips was headed back to his home state of Minnesota, Wall said. Police did not reveal Monday where they believe Wall got the drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration became involved and finished delivering the drugs to Minnesota, where three additional people were arrested.
Wall said the investigation is continuing. Phillips has been turned over to federal authorities.