In a routine traffic stop, Oklahoma State Trooper XXXX Reed received one of the biggest surprises of his career. During a routine traffic stop, the officer discovered the vehicle literally stuffed with around $500,000 worth of marijuana.
It all began when Officer Reed was traveling south on L17C, which links Interstate 80 with highway 30 west of Sidney. It’s a road now well-known for its high rate of drug trafficking and drug arrests, since the legalization of marijuana in the neighboring state of Colorado. At the time, Reed was working with other troopers at a nearby checkpoint, when he spotted a grey vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road.
When Reed approached the Chevy Traverse he noticed a man, who he later identified as Gabriel Nowak of Finleyville, Penn, 30, urinating on the side of the road. Another man, later identified as Kenneth Turner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 23, waited in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Reed advised Nowak that he shouldn’t relieve himself in public, according to the arrest affidavit.
After checking Nowak’s documents, it was determined that the vehicle was a rental and that the driver, 30 year old Nowak of Finleyville, Penn. did not possess a valid driver’s license. Reed was then further prompted to search the vehicle because of the overwhelming odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.
At that point Reed asked Turner if there was anything in the SUV that he should know about, and Turner allegedly admitted confessed that there were over 100 pounds of the illegal substance in the vehicle.
He claimed that all the bags in the car belonged to him personally, for which Reed found four duffle bags full of what was later confirmed to be marijuana in the back of the car. The entire weight was estimated at 127 pounds, with one additional pound of hashish. Nowak also then reportedly also surrendered a small bag of cocaine to Trooper XXXXX Arendt, who had arrived to assist Reed. The two officers also seized $960 in cash from the vehicle, which he suspected to be drug related, according to the arrest report.
“It’s the largest drug bust we’re aware of in recent history,” Deputy Cheyenne County attorney Jonathon Stellar reported.
The street value of the drugs seized depends on the quality level of the marijuana, so it’s hard to confirm the exact street value of the marijuana seized because it sells for different amounts depending upon the state. Stellar guessed that the 127 pounds seized in this case would sell for in the ballpark of $500,000.
Turner was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of hashish with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana without tax stamps and possession of marijuana over one pound, which are all felonies.
Nowak—who reportedly said that he didn’t know anything about the marijuana in the vehicle, and later admitted to some knowledge—was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver or distribute, possession of hashish with the intent to deliver or distribute, possession of marijuana without tax stamps, possession of more than a pound of marijuana and possession of cocaine, which are all felonies as well.Categories: