JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Multiple law enforcement agencies combined recently to seize more than 230 pounds of illegal marijuana during two separate traffic stops in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
The seizures were part of an effort by the Florida Highway Patrol, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA.
Both drug busts involved a vehicle being pulled over, but one of them involved authorities knowing the drugs were coming and waiting to make their move.
Eighty pounds of marijuana was seized during a traffic stop in the parking lot of a convenience store on Lane Avenue. Federal agents and Florida Highway Patrol had intel that a large quantity of marijuana was being trafficked into Jacksonville and had already identified a 27-year-old man as the alleged drug trafficker who was driving a minivan on an expired license.
Since last year, intel on large shipments of illegal marijuana either flown or driven into Jacksonville has led to the seizure of more than 600 pounds.
And while FHP and DEA are intercepting suspected drug traffickers coming into Jacksonville, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office has been forced to step up its patrols on I-95.
“In the past it was constant but now it’s increasing, the travels of drug dealers along Interstate 95,” said Camden County Sheriff’s Office Captain Larry Bruce. “Just two weeks ago, we recovered 157 pounds of marijuana that were coming into Camden County to be distributed throughout Southeast Georgia.”
The Sheriff’s Office said 157 pounds of illegal marijuana was hidden inside crates on the back of a flatbed trailer. The seizure of this marijuana was the result of the truck being pulled over for a traffic violation. Two men were arrested and investigators said they we rehauling the marijuana from Atlanta.
“We’re mainly seeing it come from the Atlanta area. They come down the interstate backroads and state highways and then bring into southeast Georgia. So yes, we do see an increase from the Atlanta area,” Bruce said.
And it’s not just marijuana they’re seeing on I-95, but also meth, fentanyl, cocaine and heroin.
Law enforcement said two of Mexico’s biggest drug cartels, the Sinaloa and the CJNG cartels, both use Atlanta as a regional drug distribution hub to supply drugs to the Southeast. First, the drugs are smuggled across the Mexican border and then either flown or driven to Atlanta for regional distribution, authorities said.