ST. GEORGE – A Washington County Sheriff’s narcotics K-9 sniffed out nearly 60 pounds of marijuana early Monday morning during a traffic stop on Interstate 15 at Exit 5 in St. George.
Deputy Michael Graf, with K-9 Officer Tess, stopped Melvin Posey, of Chicago, Illinois, and Rodrick Douglas, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, for a traffic violation on I-15 around 1:45 a.m. after the vehicle was observed crossing over the center lane divider line multiple times near milepost 4.
When Graf spoke with Posey and Douglas, he noticed the smell of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Sheriff’s Office in support of the arrests.
After interviewing the men separately, the deputy noticed inconsistencies in their stories about their travels.
Posey told Graf they were traveling from Chicago to California to take his son to a college, according to the statement, while Douglas said they were taking his daughter to college. The hotel name given as their place of stay also did not match.
The deputy then deployed Tess to conduct a sniff of the vehicle. While searching the car, Tess found several packages containing approximately 56 pounds of marijuana inside duffel bags in the car.
“PSD Tess sniffed a large duffel bag and showed an immediate and distinct change in her behavior,” Graf wrote in the statement. “She then moved back from the bag and sat, showing her trained response to the odor of controlled substance. When I opened the top edge of the bag I noticed it was full of plastic bags that appeared to be marijuana.”
The two men were arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Posey was charged with a third-degree felony for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia, a class C misdemeanor for open container of alcohol, as well as an infraction for failure to stay in one lane.
Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, of the 5th District Court, ordered $5,000 bail for Posey’s release pending trial during his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.
Douglas was charged with a third-degree felony for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia, and a class C misdemeanor for open container of alcohol.
Wilcox ordered $10,000 bail for Douglas’ release pending trial during his initial court appearance Monday. Douglas was found indigent by the court and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Aric Cramer.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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