A gigantic drug bust, in some very unique packaging. Thursday night, Smith County Deputies seized 242 pounds of marijuana, being taken through East Texas in a way sheriff J.B. Smith says he's never seen before. Authorities think this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Just before 10 o'clock, a Smith County Sheriff deputy pulled over an 18 wheeler with Arizona plates on I-20 near FM 849 for numerous traffic violations.
"We got a consent to search because some of the paperwork just didn't add up," said Sheriff J.B. Smith, Smith County, "Started looking in the trailer and found 242 lbs of packaged marijuana ready to go."
Packaged in shelf paper, something Sheriff Smith has never seen, but what it was underneath might even be more puzzling.
"That's a lot of dope and it was hidden underneath lettuce in this 18 wheeler," said Smith, "We think it was headed for the east coast."
The truck driver, Billy Jo Huff Jr. of Arizona, is now in jail, charged with felony drug possession.
"The driver has not been cooperative at all. Evidently this is not his first rodeo," said Smith.
Law enforcement believe the drugs came in from Mexico, going up in price every mile it is taken.
"In Tyler this 242 lbs would be worth about 450 to 500 dollars a pound but the further north and east you go it becomes quite more valuable. We estimate this at about 1,000 a pound if it was going to Georgia, north or south Carolina..
But despite this victory, Sheriff Smith says there is still a long way to go to catch all the drugs coming through East Texas.
"I don't think that law enforcement is touching one tenth of 1% that is coming through Tyler Texas. It's not just coming down the interstate. There is a lot of it coming up Highway 69, 31, 59," said Smith, "It's coming from all over and it's coming through in all these arteries it's hard to watch them all."
But until authorities get more help from both sides of the border, they'll keep their eyes on the road, and their handcuffs ready.
Authorities are sending samples of the drugs to a lab, to find out if there is a connection to other recent large seizures. Also, the company that was supposed to receive the lettuce that was hiding the drugs have agreed to come pick that up.