Troopers seize $1.5 million worth of hydroponic marijuana in Erie County

MILAN – Three men are facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 353 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, worth an estimated $1,588,500 following a traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike in Erie County.

Troopers stopped a 2012 Dodge 2500 pick-up truck, with Washington registration, for a following too closely violation on Interstate 80, near milepost 121, at 9:03 a.m. today.  Troopers detected the odor of raw marijuana and a probable cause search of the vehicle revealed eight large duffle bags containing the 353 pounds of hydroponic marijuana.

Thomas J. Whitlow, 30, of Minneapolis, Minn, Kenneth C. Coffin, 54, and Lucas D. Franz, 33, both of Seattle. Wash., were incarcerated in the Erie County Jail and charged with drug trafficking and possession of drugs, both second-degree felonies. If convicted, each could face up to 16 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.

Drug violations are up significantly this year. Through Dec. 10 the Patrol has made 1,423 more drug arrests than during the same time period in 2010.

A photo of the seized contraband is available for download on the Patrol’s website at http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov

© 2012 The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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