Four people from Texas were arrested and 162 pounds of marijuana was seized in a traffic stop on Interstate 35, the Oklahoma County sheriff reports Wednesday.
About 8:15 p.m. Monday, a deputy assigned to a drug trafficking task force noticed a white Ford Excursion with Texas license plates straddle the road lines near I-35 and Hefner Road and pulled the driver over. The vehicle was transporting the marijuana, according to a sheriff's news release.
“This is a great example of the important work (the task force) does,” Sheriff John Whetsel said in the release. “This joint effort between the Oklahoma County D.A.'s office, the Oklahoma City Police Department and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is getting drugs off the streets and helping to make our communities safer.”
The driver was identified as Ismael Maldonado, 21, of El Paso, Texas. Maldonado gave the deputy conflicting information about where he was headed and what he and his three passengers were doing.
The deputy noticed the SUV fuel tank appeared to have been tampered with and brought his drug-sniffing dog, Axo, to check the vehicle. The dog indicated illegal drugs were inside the SUV, the news release states.
Other law officers arrived and found three metal boxes inside the fuel tank with nine bundles of compressed marijuana weighing 162 pounds, according to the release.
Maldonado and all three passengers were taken to the Oklahoma County jail on complaints of trafficking marijuana. The passengers were Ismael Ramirez, 20; Yannet Munoz, 20; and Janet Mejia, 19, all of El Paso.