A California man reportedly admitted to transporting large amounts of marijuana across the country, from the West Coast to New Jersey.
According to Morris County prosecutors, the 51-year-old suspect drove from California to Wharton NJ in a van with a trailer and delivered between 100 and 360 pounds of marijuana. The pot was reportedly packaged in cardboard boxes that had been stamped with a Home Depot logo in order to conceal their contents.
Morris County law enforcement spent several months conducting an investigation into the alleged drug trafficking operation. The investigation involved more than 20 agencies, including the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit and several local police departments in Morris County, New Jersey.
After crossing the state border and arriving in New Jersey, the suspect drove to an apartment building in Wharton and delivered four boxes to another suspect.
Police officers followed the main suspect as he left the apartment complex and later stopped his vehicle on Route 80 in Rockaway, NJ.
Morris County NJ police reportedly seized 360 pounds of pot with a street value of approximately $1.4 million. This represented the largest pot seizure in Morris County in the last 20 years. The pot was reportedly contained in vacuum-sealed pouches placed in the cardboard boxes.
The suspect was initially released from police custody while law enforcement applied for a search warrant. He was later arrested in Indiana and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Since the quantity of marijuana was greater than 25 pounds, the suspect faced first degree felony charges in the drug crime case.
Police also arrested two other people: a 25-year-old man from Wharton and a 25-year-old man from Clifton.
Now the California suspect is set for serious prison time after pleading guilty to the drug charges. He recently appeared in Morris County Superior Court, located in Morristown NJ, and told the judge that he was “not debating what was in the trailer.” The suspect admitted to transporting the drugs across state lines and into New Jersey.
However, the suspect did state that he did not know what was inside the boxes and that he did not have the intent to illegally distribute marijuana.
Although first degree felony charges typically carry a potential sentence of 10-20 years in New Jersey State Prison, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to recommend that the suspect be sentenced to seven years in state prison. At the sentencing hearing in Morris County Superior Court, the suspect’s defense attorney will likely argue that his client receive a sentence of just five years behind bars.
In addition to facing prison time, the suspect will also have to forfeit his 2011 Ford F350 pickup truck, which he used to transport the illicit drugs, and $123,880 that he had in his possession when he was arrested.
To learn more about this case, see the DailyRecord.com article, “Calif. Man Admits Hauling Pot to Wharton.”