Police find 30 pounds of marijuana in traffic stop

Monday, November 16, 2009 | 6:43 p.m. CST; updated 9:49 p.m. CST, Monday, November 16, 2009

COLUMBIA — Police said they found approximately 30 pounds of marijuana in the backseat of a truck during a traffic stop early Saturday morning.

Columbia resident Eugene Johnson, 30, was arrested on suspicion of distribution and possession of a controlled substance; both are felonies. Police also found two bottles containing prescription pills — one Xanax, the other OxyCodone — in the vehicle that were not prescribed to Johnson.

Johnson was pulled over shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday on Carrie Francke Drive near A.L. Gustin Golf Course. An officer ran the license plates on the 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche Johnson was driving and discovered the plates were registered to a different vehicle.

Columbia Police Public Information Officer Jessie Haden said that when traffic is “light,” police routinely check the license plates of vehicles at stoplights and at other opportunities to confirm that a vehicle’s registration is valid.

After the officer pulled over Johnson’s vehicle, the officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and said Johnson’s eyes appeared bloodshot, Haden said.

The officer discovered the vehicle was not registered and that Johnson’s license had been suspended, Haden said.

According to Haden, the officer took Johnson from the vehicle, and said Johnson still smelled like marijuana. The officer saw bits of what appeared to be marijuana around Johnson’s mouth, and Johnson told the officer he had eaten some before being pulled over.

The officer searched the vehicle and found 28 individually wrapped bricks of marijuana in the backseat hidden under some clothing, police said. The officer then found the two pill bottles, one with a prescription sticker, the other with a sticker bearing another person's name.

Johnson was also arrested on suspicion of three traffic violations in the stop, police said.

Johnson was released on $38,500 bond from the Boone County Jail later Saturday morning.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of distribution of a controlled substance in November 1999.

Anyone with information about this incident can call CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS.

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