COALVILLE — Summit County sheriff's deputies reported seizing close to 200 pounds of marijuana in the past two weeks.
About 145 pounds of the substance was found and seized within three days during two separate traffic stops, Summit County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Bridge said. The first large bust was Nov. 29, when a deputy stopped a motorist on I-80 near Silver Creek Junction for a minor traffic violation.
Bridge said the deputy could smell marijuana in the vehicle and a K9 helped discover 40 pounds of marijuana in a toolbox. Marijuana and marijuana brownies were also found in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
"The driver was actually using marijuana and driving at the same time," Bridge said.
The Oklahoma man was also found with "several thousand dollars" in cash and firearms. He was arrested and faces numerous potential charges, including possession of a large amount of marijuana.
The largest seizure was the result of a minor traffic stop near Wanship on Dec. 1. A K9 indicated there were drugs in the vehicle and 104 pounds of marijuana were found in the trunk. The driver of that vehicle, who is from Wisconsin, was also arrested and booked for investigation of possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and other charges.
"That's 145 pounds total, but adding up all of the totals over the two-week period there's been nearly 200 pounds and several thousand dollars seized," Bridge said. "It's an accumulation of numerous different traffic stops conducted on Interstate 80 between the top of Parley's (Canyon) and the beginning of Echo Canyon."
Bridge said there does not appear to be any connection between the cases and all of them started as routine traffic stops that led to the discovery of drugs. He credited deputies for taking the initiative to conduct investigations during the traffic stops.
"It just happens to be good timing and proactive work on the part of Summit County deputies to get these narcotics off the road," Bridge said. "This is just outstanding police work."
Contributing: Roger Cary