600 Pounds of Pot Seized on I-75 in McMinn County

Thursday, March 27, 2008 | 11:35 am

Nashville, Tennessee — A Tennessee State Trooper stopped a 1999 Suburban on I-75 Thursday evening and seized nearly 600 pounds of marijuana. On February 14, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Trooper John Allen Jr. observed a grey Suburban SUV at mile marker 45 following a fuel tanker too closely. Trooper Allen, who was conducting stationary radar, also observed a marked change of behavior by the driver as he passed the Highway Patrol unit.

Upon stopping the suspect vehicle at mile marker 41, Trooper Allen asked the driver for his license, which was torn and covered with tape. After noticing the driver’s nervous behavior, Trooper Allen ordered him out of the vehicle and questioned him as to whether his license was suspended. After further questioning and noticing blankets covering the full length of the Suburban, Trooper Allen ran his K-9 Alli around the vehicle and it responded to the tailgate. When Trooper Allen opened the rear driver side door, he uncovered 32 bales of marijuana wrapped in rubber material, talcum powder and plastic wrap. The marijuana has an estimated street value of $1 million dollars. Vincent G. Willis, 24, of Knoxville, and passenger Maria Beaver, 23, also of Knoxville, were arrested and booked in the McMinn County jail on charges of possession of marijuana for resale. Mr. Willis was also cited for driving on a suspended license. The D.E.A. has been notified of the large marijuana seizure. The marijuana was seized in accordance with state law.