Sheriff’s Office Seizes Nearly 200 Pounds Of Marijuana

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SWEETWATER COUNTY — A San Diego man is behind bars after deputies found just under 200 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle on Saturday, Sweetwater County Sheriff Mike Lowell said Monday afternoon.

When a Sweetwater County deputy and his specially-trained canine partner made a traffic stop on Interstate 80, a strong odor of marijuana was detected coming from the vehicle and a subsequent search produced 190.53 pounds of marijuana in 171 vacuum-sealed bags. Also seized were four marijuana oil cartridges and six refill cartridges. Street value of the seizure is estimated at well over $950,000.

The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, Jorge Carlos Villafuerte Paniagua, 29, of San Diego, California, was arrested without incident and transported to the Sweetwater County Detention Center, where he remains in lieu of a $15,000 cash or surety bond. He is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver.

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Lowell said the Sheriff’s Office has adopted a policy of not identifying deputies and their drug detection dogs involved in drug seizures due to incidences nationwide of law enforcement officers and their dogs being threatened in drug cases.