Car with no lights leads to major marijuana bust in Sumner County

(Courtesy: 18th Judicial Task Force)

SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) –  When police saw a car with Texas plates and no lights, driving through heavy fog on Tuesday morning, they knew something was wrong.

An officer from the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force working on Interstate 65 pulled over the car, a white Ford, with two men inside.

Task Force Officer Jason Ghee said, “the vehicle, as I approached it, didn’t have any tail lights or running lights on and it and made it difficult for me to see it, ’til i got up on it.”

Ghee told News 2 he asked the men simple questions about their trip. He said they were nervous and their stories didn’t add up.

“They drove from Lubbock and will stay in Corbin Ky. for a day and then go back with no real purpose for the trip.”

Within minutes of the stop, a drug dog named Kailee picked up a strong odor of marijuana. Drug agents found 7 bundles in the trunk and 3 more under a blanket in the back seat of the car. They seized 10 bricks of high grade marijuana weighing 219 pounds, with an estimated value of $650-thousand dollars.

Ghee said “The driver said he was supposed to take the drugs to Kentucky and go to a hotel and off load the drugs into a wood line behind some bushes and then go back to Texas,” said Ghee. “You are looking at over half a million dollars worth of marijuana hidden in the bushes. i just don’t find that very feasible.”

Task Force officers say the drugs most likely originated in Mexico.

The driver, Marcus Stevens, 23, and his passenger, Merrill Cruise, 19, were both charged with possession with intent to sell, and are in the Sumner county jail.

Investigators say that even though the drugs were headed to Kentucky, it is not unusual for dealers to see them in Tennessee.

Ghee said the size of the bust was exhilarating. “We train a lot. A lot goes into this job to see the fruits of your labor pay off on a stop like that, it is worthwhile and phenomenal to be a part of that, especially on a grand scale like yesterday’s stop was.”