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Drug bust on I-70 nets marijuana

Cpl. Shawn Alton stands beside the 75 pounds of marijuana from I-70.

A routine traffic stop for speeding on east bound I-70 on March 23 turned into a drug bust. Cpl. Shawn Alton was patrolling on I-70 when he stopped a Kia Sorento SUV at milepost 142. The vehicle was headed eastbound at the time. During the traffic stop, Cpl. Alton said the subject acted extremely nervous and gave conflicting stories concerning his destination.

Cpl. Alton said there was also a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle, four large duffle bags were found in the rear of the SUV containing 75 pounds of marijuana. The subject was traveling from California to Denver.

The vehicle was a rented car. The car was apparently rented for a month.

The subject was taken to the Emery County jail for booking. Also found with the marijuana was a small baggy for personal use mixed with coffee grounds to mask the odor of the drugs. A marijuana crusher and a pipe was also found. The subject was in possession of a large knife. Cpl. Alton said the marijuana confiscated was of a high quality packaged with buds and stems attached, fresh off the farm. It was loosely packed in large plastic bags. Cpl. Alton gave estimates on the value on the street of the product, saying it can go anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 per pound depending on where the drugs are going. Denver is a hub for drugs and they could be repackaged in Denver and then travel to points eastward from there. The suspect picked up is a drug runner and was going to drop the drugs in Denver and then fly back to California after making what he thought would be a quick buck.

The 43 year old subject was from Auburn, Calif.

Sgt. Steve Salas is doing the investigation on the case. He is trying to discover where the drugs came from and where they were headed for in Denver. Cpl. Alton said the subject was not cooperating with the investigation. Sometimes in order to try to get the people higher up in the chain of command at the drug operation, a controlled delivery will take place with warrants for the people involved who show up to receive the drug shipment.

Cpl. Alton said marijuana is so prevalent now that even though 75 pounds seems like a lot it is just a drop in the bucket. FBI studies indicate that of all the drugs transported nationwide that only 3-5 percent are ever caught. Approximately 95 percent of all drug transports pass through undetected. The people who are caught are the exception not the rule. Cpl. Alton said that's what makes drug trafficking so attractive to people. It's a quick buck with a small chance you will be caught. Once a drug runner is caught, then he is on his own as far as the drug organization higher ups are concerned.

This subject is now facing felony charges which include possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; possession of a deadly weapon, possession of personal use marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding. The subject is now being held in the Emery County jail until his court appearance unless he bails out prior to his court appearance.

The going rate for marijuana in Denver is approximately $3,000 per pound giving this drug bust a potential of $225,000 value on the street.

Bradley Gerald Harsh DOB 9/21/67 is the suspect in this case.

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