If you are a resident of Lancaster County, Nebraska, you may occasionally wonder why you see so many law enforcement vehicles on the area’s roadways. Although the county’s largest city (Lincoln) is hardly a one stop light town, neither is it the size of Omaha. So why does it seem as though you cannot drive through the county without seeing law enforcement vehicles that appear to be just waiting to pull someone over? The answer is Interstate 80. More specifically, the drugs that are so frequently transported along I-80. To illustrate the problem, an I-80 drug stop lawyer from Petersen Law Office explains some of the record-breaking drug seizures that have occurred in Lancaster County.
645 Pounds of Marijuana Being Transported on I-80 through Lincoln Area
Just this month (January 2019), two men from out of state were arrested and charged in connection with 645 pounds of marijuana found in their rental truck. Brandon Arrington, 30, of McDonough, Georgia, and Edward Babb of Houston were both charged with felonies for two possession with intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp. In the affidavit filed by a Lancaster County Sheriff’s deputy, the officer claimed he stopped a GMC Penske rental truck with Virginia plates Tuesday after seeing its passenger side tires cross onto the shoulder of Interstate 80 near the Lincoln Airport exit. During the traffic stop, the deputy became suspicious the men were involved in criminal activity. They both denied a request to search the truck, but the deputy deployed his police dog around it after seeing what he believed to be marijuana residue on the floorboard. The search turned up 645 pounds of marijuana and 4.74 pounds of THC vapor pens in the truck’s cargo area inside cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic wrap, according to court records.
Half a Million Dollars of Methamphetamine
In April of 2018, Lancaster County Sheriff’s deputies found $500,000 worth of methamphetamine secreted inside an Iowa man’s car during a traffic stop west of Lincoln. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Council Bluffs was driving east on Interstate 80 when a deputy pulled him over near the Nebraska 103 exit for following too closely. During the stop, the deputy developed “reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot” and had a police dog sniff around the Pontiac G6, he said. The dog indicated drugs were inside, and deputies searched the car, finding 12 pounds of meth in void spaces in the car’s body. Homeland Security took over and the driver was charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of meth, according to federal court records.
One Million Dollars in Cash Found in Vacuum Sealed Bags
A Lancaster County sheriff’s deputy found nearly $1 million in vacuum-sealed bags when they stopped Ryan Perich, 30, of Elk Grove, California, in January 2014. Perich claimed he knew the money was drug related and that he was transporting it from the East Coast to California. Papers found in his vehicle contained addresses and entry code information to storage units on the East Coast that were believed to contain information on drug debts and money collected. Investigators believe the money found was the equivalent of 208 pounds of high-quality, indoor-grown marijuana.
Interstate 80 Stops Yield Over 300 Pounds of Marijuana
Three men were arrested and more than 300 pounds of marijuana seized by Lancaster County Sheriff’s deputies during separate traffic stops on Interstate 80 near Lincoln in February 2018. The first stop occurred near the Nebraska 103 exit, according to an arrest affidavit. A deputy pulled over an eastbound SUV for speeding and following too closely and asked to search the vehicle after developing an unspecified suspicion that “criminal activity was afoot.” A police dog indicated it smelled the odor of drugs inside, the affidavit said. Deputies found 98 packages of marijuana in boxes and a duffel bag in the rear hatch area. The driver, Doua Vu, 50, of Fresno, California, jailed on possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp.
Deputies two days later stopped two eastbound vehicles they believed to be traveling together: a car for following too closely and a truck for traveling over the shoulder line. The truck driver, Ariel Hernandez of Chicago, had THC concentrate in the cup holder, investigators said. The deputy, believing the 27-year-old was involved in criminal activity, searched the truck and found seven duffel bags containing 134 pounds of marijuana and 2,150 THC vapor-pen cartridges, the affidavit said.
250 Pounds of Marijuana Found in Fake Vehicle Compartment
State troopers arrested two people and seized more than 250 pounds of marijuana found in a fake compartment during an Interstate 80 traffic stop near Lincoln in May 2018, according to court documents. James Conry and Courtney Passiglia were stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol near the 27th Street exit after a trooper saw an after-market compartment on their eastbound flatbed truck, said the affidavit. The trooper had followed the truck, which was hauling lumber, after he spotted the suspected compartment in Seward County, the affidavit said. Passiglia, the driver, was issued a warning for following too closely, and the trooper had a police dog sniff around the truck. The dog indicated it smelled drugs coming from the truck, and both Conry and Passiglia denied the trooper’s request to search their property or the truck, the affidavit said. The trooper pried open the compartment and found 263 pounds of marijuana in heat-sealed bags, according to the State Patrol. Both Conry and Passiglia were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
Contact an I-80 Drug Stop Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a drug-related criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska I-80 drug lawyer at Petersen Law Office as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.
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