Agents seize 300 pounds of pot; may be most in unit’s history

TUPELO – The North Mississippi Narcotics Unit have made one of the biggest marijuana busts in the unit’s history.

Agents seized 300 pounds of marijuana Tuesday from the 18-wheeler of Marco Johnson, 32, of 829 Rock Cliff Circle. He remains in the Lee County Jail on a $250,000 bond, charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Valued at up to $300,000, the drugs were being taken from Texas, according to Agent Bruce Dodson.

Dodson said agents learned that Johnson had been bringing drugs in from Texas through his trucking company, Polo Express, a one-man, one-truck operation. Agents suspect the trucking company was a front for the drug trafficking.

With the help of the Lee County Sheriff’s and Tupelo Police departments, agents set up 24-hour surveillance where agents believed Johnson regularly brought the drugs into Tupelo. He was pulled over and arrested on Veterans Boulevard just north of Highway 78.

The drugs were tightly packaged in compressed bricks. Because they were wrapped in coffee, it was hard to detect the marijuana odor in the cab of the truck, according to agents.

Dodson said agents believed the drugs were meant to be sold and distributed in Tupelo.

“When we usually get a big bust from a truck driver he’s usually passing through taking it elsewhere,” he said.

Lt. Paul Powell said Texas is a popular area for drug purchases.

“A pound of marijuana probably costs about $400 a pound in Texas,” he explained. “You can bring it back here and sell it anywhere from $850 to $1,000 a pound. That’s a lot of profit.”

Johnson’s 1998 Freightliner truck was seized as well as two other vehicles and several guns.


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