02/04/2010

Pa. trooper finds 6,500 lbs of pot during traffic stop

The confiscated dope is worth an estimated $10-25 million

The Morning Call

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Somewhere, Cheech and Chong are choking on their bongs.

The delivery of more than 3 tons of marijuana went up in smoke over the weekend in what police are saying could be the largest pot bust in Pennsylvania history following a traffic stop on Interstate 81 east of Harrisburg.

That's 6,500 pounds, or roughly the combined weight of two Honda Accords. It's enough to fill more than 800,000 eighth-of-an-ounce bags, a common size for street-level purchases. Police estimate the confiscated dope would have fetched between $10 million and $25 million on the street.

"We have not actually confirmed it, but we believe it's the largest," said Trooper Tom Pinkerton of Troop H in Harrisburg.

Investigators say the apparent record find came after a northbound tractor-trailer blew past the Grantville weigh station in Dauphin County near the Lebanon County border shortly after noon Sunday.

A state trooper conducting commercial vehicle inspections -- all trucks are required to stop at the weigh station when it's in operation -- noticed the 18-wheeler avoided the weigh station and a pursuit followed. During the traffic stop, a trooper realized he may be dealing with more than a summary traffic violation.

"There are a lot of training and procedures taught that enable [troopers] to identify this," said Pinkerton, saying he couldn't comment on what specifically made the trooper suspicious. "All of that led to him discovering the marijuana.

Read full story: Marijuana bust may be Pa.'s biggest

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