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Ace on the case: K9 sniffs out six suitcases of weed in vehicle

Jan 7, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Stash found after driver pulled over for too-dark window tint.

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A K9 officer’s keen sense of smell and an illegal window tint ended in a Florida vehicle stop that revealed 125 pounds (57 kilograms) of weed stuffed into six suitcases.

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Shortly after 8 p.m. on Jan 5, troopers with Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) were monitoring traffic and on the lookout for anything amiss on Dixie Clipper Dr., which is close to Jacksonville International Airport.

That’s when they noticed grey Dodge Durango whose window tint made the inside a little too private, Action News Jax reports.

  1. When police arrived to carry out a routine emptying of the box, the previously deposited weed was nowhere to be found and the box was empty.

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  2. CBSA Detector Dog Services Team searches cargo. / Photo: RCMP

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  3. The 57-year-old man reportedly accepted responsibility for the drugs when police approached him after watching him claim his luggage

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Citing an FHP arrest report, First Coast News notes that was enough for FHP troopers to carry out a vehicle stop. A window tint reader indicated that the shade was about eight per cent darker than is legally allowed.

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But the driver and occupant weren’t just in hot water over window tint. As the troopers approached the stopped vehicle, they detected an odour that smelled very much like cannabis.

Recreational weed is illegal in Florida, with possession of up to 20 grams treated as a misdemeanour and any amount above that charged as a felony. Maximum penalties increase depending on the amount of the drug, but a person found with 20 grams to 25 pounds (11.3 kilograms) of cannabis could face up to five years in prison and a US$5,000 ($6,350) fine, according to HG Legal Services.

In Florida, medicinal and low-THC cannabis is available for qualified patients who are registered and have an identification card, while the so-called U.S. Farm Bill made hemp, defined as having less than 0.3 per cent THC, legal by removing it from the Schedule I controlled substances list.

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The three occupants were asked twice if there was any medical marijuana or hemp inside the vehicle. Both times, once before a free air exterior vehicle search and once after, they replied “no,” per First Coast News.

During the exterior search, however, K9 Ace was deployed and alerted to drugs inside the vehicle, confirms an FHP tweet. “Good boy, Ace!” the tweet states.

The vehicle’s three occupants were asked twice if there was any medical marijuana or hemp inside the vehicle. Both times they replied “no.” /
The vehicle’s three occupants were asked twice if there was any medical marijuana or hemp inside the vehicle. Both times they replied “no.” / Photo by Florida Highway Patrol, Jacksonville

Upon physically checking the vehicle, officers discovered six suitcases — complete with baggage claim tickets and listing the names of two of the three vehicle occupants — that contained 108 vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana weighing 125 pounds (57 kilograms).

Although all three men were initially taken into custody, the driver reported he had no knowledge whatsoever of the drugs. However, he did receive a citation for driving while having a suspended licence and a warning for the window tint, Action News Jax reports.

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The two occupants, both in their late 20s, were subsequently taken to a local jail.

It’s certainly not the first time bud and baggage have been discovered at or near the Jacksonville airport over the years.

Last April, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration K9 Xena alerted handlers to 40 pounds (18.1 kilograms) of pot in luggage arriving at the Jacksonville airport, resulting in a 37-year-old man being arrested. And in 2019, a man was arrested at the airport on suspicion of possessing more than 25 pounds (11.3 kilograms) of marijuana, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Nashville International Airport has also proved a popular spot for pot, with the authorities finding weed in, among other place, luggage and gifts.

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