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Goliad traffic stop nets 1,727 pounds of pot (Video)

By Kathleen Duncan
April 24, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.
Updated April 24, 2013 at 11:25 p.m.

Packaged marijuana lies in the bed of a pickup and inside its cab. The pickup was abandoned by its driver after he was stopped along U.S. Highway 59 near Goliad. Goliad County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Gall pulled over the pickup for following a tractor-trailer too closely. Gall estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds of marijuana was seized from the vehicle.

The Goliad County Sheriff's Office confiscated nearly $800,000 worth of suspected marijuana and a vehicle in a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 59 at 6:53 a.m. on Wednesday.

The driver of the Ford F-250 pickup fled into the brush when Goliad County Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Gall pulled him over for following a tractor-trailer too closely, just south of the Goliad city limits.

Department of Public Safety troopers, a helicopter, officers on horseback, prison scent dogs and Goliad sheriff deputies and constables searched for the man until 1:30 p.m., said Goliad County Sheriff Kirby Brumby. They did not locate him on Wednesday.

As the deputy approached the truck, the driver fled, first by driving through a fence into a wooded area, then by leaving the vehicle behind and running into the brush.

"When he went into the ditch and through the fence, the suspected marijuana flew out of the back of his truck," Brumby said. "They call this a suicide load. They aren't hiding it; they're just praying they're going to make it."

Brumby said the back seats of the truck had been removed. The cab, toolbox and bed of the truck contained more than 400 bundles that weighed a total of 1,727 pounds.

Brumby said the load of marijuana was probably the largest his office had confiscated since he became sheriff and that despite budget cuts and pay freezes, his office is making drug detection a priority with increased traffic.

"The thing we have been able to do is send more of our deputies to train for interdiction, which teaches them what to look for and how to identify these things," Brumby said. "Through their training - they are able to put that into practice now."

He said the deputies started drug interdiction training about six months ago.

The Goliad Sheriff's Office confiscated 250 pounds of marijuana and a vehicle April 16 in a bailout.

Brumby said the drugs will be taken to Austin Department of Public Safety for processing and testing.

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