12/19/2007

Ohio troopers find more drugs wrapped as gifts

By Donna J. Miller
Plain Dealer

Dayton, Ohio — For the second time this month, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers in Preble County seized marijuana packaged in Christmas wrapping paper.

Forty-five pounds of marijuana valued at $102,690 was confiscated during a traffic stop on Interstate 70 about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, the patrol said in a news release. The packages were in suitcases in the trunk of a rented 2008 Dodge Stratus.

On Dec. 8, two miles away, troopers seized 25 pounds of marijuana valued at more than $56,000.

The Stratus was stopped for making an unsafe lane change. A police dog alerted to the vehicle, giving the trooper cause to do a search.

The driver, Qiturah H. Muhammad, 23, of Danville, Pa., and passenger, Shawn E. Williams, 25, of Mifflinville, Pa., are charged with trafficking and possession of criminal tools. If convicted, they face up to nine years in prison and a $17,500 fine.

Through September, the patrol has seized more than 3.3 million grams of illegal narcotics valued at approximately $53.8 million. In 2006, troopers seized more than 4.9 million grams (11,000 pounds) of narcotics, valued at nearly $55 million.

Copyright 2007 The Plain Dealer

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