EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY- A refrigerated 18-wheeler parked at the Flying J Truck Stop on US 59 at SH 242 Tuesday evening blended in, appearing to be a typical produce hauler. That is, except the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit K-9 Bianca.
As SIU Deputy Tom Thompson walked around the parking area with Bianca, she had a strong reaction to one of the trucks, according to SIU Deputy Buddy Kellum, giving a positive air sniff alert.
Kellum said running a check on the truck’s license plate revealed it was uninsured and the registration was expired.
“We waited for the driver to exit the restaurant,” he said. “We made contact with the driver and he gave consent to search the vehicle after we told him we had the K-9 alert.”
With the rear door of the trailer open, the truck still appeared to be filled with watermelons and lemons. Having partnered with Bianca for years and confident in her accuracy, Deputy Thompson climbed on top of the load and saw bundle after bundle of an illegal harvest.
Hidden amidst the melons and oranges was an estimated 3,000 lbs. of marijuana, wrapped and sealed in plastic, divided into various sizes.
Kellum said the load originated in the Mission / Edinburg area, which is in south Texas near the Mexican border. Drug trafficking is an ongoing problem on both US 59 and Interstate 45 through Montgomery County.