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Police arrested a truck driver Monday along Interstate 71 in Oldham County after seizing nearly 1,600 pounds of marijuana from his tractor-trailer.
Sohrab F. Shamoil, 47, of Mesa, Ariz., was charged with careless driving and first-offense trafficking in marijuana over 5 pounds, a felony, according to a KSP news release.
“This is the largest marijuana seizure at one time at our post,” Detective Sgt. Vic Hubbuch said Tuesday. He said the street value of the pot is estimated at about $4 million.
He attributed the arrest and seizure to Trooper Rick Ellis.
“Through his training, he observed suspicious activity on the part of the driver,” and called in the Oldham County Police Department K-9 unit to investigate, Hubbuch said.
When the dog “hit” on the truck, indicating drugs were inside the trailer, Ellis and others from the OCPD began searching the truck and found at least one container of marijuana.
The truck and trailer later were moved to Burrows’ Garage and Wrecker Service on U.S. 42 in Sligo, just south of the Trimble County line.
Using a forklift, Burrows’ employees helped KSP unload about 30 skids of tobacco twine to reach the three containers, which had been loaded at the very front of the trailer.
The marijuana later was transported to KSP–Post 5 using one of Burrows’ trucks, Hubbuch said. The truck, trailer and its remaining contents were impounded at the Sligo garage.
They, too, will be seized under state law, Hubbuch said.
Though investigators are unsure of the marijuana’s origin, Shamoil told investigators he was driving toward Pennsylvania.
“I don’t know if that’s true; he wasn’t being extremely cooperative,” Hubbuch said.
Investigators suspect the marijuana was grown in Mexico.
Hubbuch said investigator Tommy Johnson of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency also was brought into the investigation, and added that Shamoil likely will face federal drug charges, as well as the state trafficking charge.
Hubbuch said Ellis is part of the State Police Interstate Drug Interdiction Team, which aims to stop drug trafficking on the commonwealth’s highways.
Wrecker service owner Scott Burrows of Bedford said his garage often handles impounded vehicles for KSP.
“They told us they needed a forklift and a power jack” to offload the contents of the trailer, he said. “This stuff was pushed all the way to the back. ... At first, they didn’t know how much they had. When they noticed the cases [containing the marijuana] didn’t look like the others, they realized the had a large quantity.”
Burrows said the containers were 4-foot squares.
Officers pulled out one bale of the pot, which was wrapped in oil-coated plastic intended to throw dogs off the scent, and said it was worth about $35,000 to $40,000.
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