280 pounds of pot seized in highway bust
September 22, 2003
Police seized an estimated 280 pounds of marijuana on Friday after a traffic stop on Highway 82 in El Jebel.
The drugs, worth an estimated $540,000, were discovered after local authorities received “developed information” from an undisclosed source. This tip led police on a valleywide search for a red Ford F-150 pickup truck from Arizona.
“We had information on the vehicle, that it was coming that way and it had the marijuana in it,” said detective Kate Brandrupt of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities have not released additional information about its source.
The truck was spotted by local law enforcement just after 1 p.m. Friday as it drove south through El Jebel along Highway 82. Police stopped the truck, allowing a team of Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Eagle County Crime Response Team members to conduct a vehicle search.
A K-9 unit from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office led investigators to study the truck’s tires, where they found metal canisters welded to the rims. The truck was taken to the Eagle County Maintenance Shop, where a team of bus mechanics and firefighters used saws to remove a total of 12 canisters containing the tightly packed marijuana.
The recovery process took several hours, an Eagle County press release states.
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The truck’s driver and passengers – Ursulo Granados-Iguado, 31; Braulio Chavez Quezada, 23; and Martin Alonso Valdez, 35; all residents of Chihuahua, Mexico, – were arrested by federal authorities shortly after the drugs were discovered. The suspects were taken to Mesa County Jail in Grand Junction, where they are currently being held on felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.