Formosa workers find marijuana bundles in bottom of railcar

By by Dianna Wray
Sept. 21, 2010 at 4:21 a.m.

PORT LAVACA - Workers at Formosa Plastics were surprised to find more than plastic while cleaning one of its rail cars - 30 pounds of marijuana.

Workers were inspecting the car and getting ready to move it into the factory at about 9:20 a.m. Tuesday when they found three "suspicious packages" in the otherwise empty car.

Formosa Plastics Communication Director Jim Shepherd said the car had been in storage and they were uncertain when it had been last used or where it came from

"They don't prepare the cars until they're ready to go into the factory, so it could been put in there this morning, or months ago," Shepherd said.

Formosa Plastics transports more than 40 different types of plastic pellets. They transport these pellets in enclosed hopper cars, railroad cars with a manhole at the top to put in dry goods and releases from the bottom to empty it out.

Each car has to be empty and clean before it can be loaded in the factory.

The Calhoun County Sheriff's office was called and a deputy arrived at the plant to assess the situation.

The deputy collected three packages, a total of about 30 pounds, and placed it in canvas bags to transport to the sheriff's office.

The marijuana will be destroyed when the department receives a court order from a judge, Calhoun County Sheriff B.B. Browning said.

Once they receive the court order, officers will go to the landfill and dig a hole about 8 feet wide, Browning said.

Everything they have been given a court order to dispose of goes into the hole. Then they douse it with diesel fuel, watch it burn and fill up the hole, Browning said.

This probably won't happen for a few months, Browning said, because The sheriff's office usually waits until there are a lot of things to burn, and burn them all at once.

Shepherd said there was no telling why the marijuana was left in the car.

"We get trains in from all over the country, and there's no telling who thought they were doing what when they put that product on the train," Shepherd said.



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