34 pounds of pot seized in Scott City

Monday, March 3, 2008
Scott City police seized nearly 34 pounds of marijuana including a 16-pound brick of the drug during a traffic stop early Monday morning on Main Street. (Fred Lynch)

Less than two weeks after a traffic stop for speeding led to Scott City police seizing nearly five pounds of marijuana, an illegal U-turn on the town's Main Street resulted in a bust of more than six times that amount.

The mother lode came around 2:30 a.m. Monday, when an officer noticed the illegal turn on Main Street and pulled the car over, said police chief Don Cobb.

A search of the vehicle revealed nearly 34 pounds of marijuana, including a solid bale of the drug, Cobb said.

"I've never seen one this big," he said of the haul.

Tiffany Seiber, 25, and Martina J. Smith, 19, both of St. Louis, were arrested in connection with the bust and held on $100,000 bond. Smith is being held at the Scott City Jail, while Seiber is being held at the Scott County facility.

Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd charged both women with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Seiber was also charged with driving on a suspended license.

The two women were headed to St. Louis, Cobb said.

Cobb said the cache carried a street value of anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 depending on how it was cut.

Years ago, it might have been unusual to see a large seizure of marijuana outside of the parameters of the regular harvest time in the fall, but not anymore, said Kevin Glaser, director of the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force.

"There is no 'out of season' anymore," he said.

"It's always in season."

Indoor growing operations combined with importation of the drug from Mexico means a tremenous supply of marijuana is available to traffickers year round, Glaser said.

Glaser said the recent amount of large seizures may not necessarily be matter of an increase in trafficking and the fact that more officers are on the lookout for it.

"When an officer scores a big hit, it motivates other officers to go out and look," he said.

Many officers may be on the alert when making routine traffic stops for certain indicators that someone may be courying drugs, Glaser said, "going beyond just writing the traffic ticket."

On Feb. 20, Orlando Boyd and Christopher Brown were arrested on Scott City warrants for possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute.

In Cape Girardeau, police netted nine pounds of marijuana during a Feb. 27 arrest of Corey Martin.

"We only get the dumb ones," said Cobb of the last two marijuana seizures.

In both cases, the police discovered the drugs because those allegedly carrying it were caught committing minor traffic violations.

"I would hate to know how much weight is running up and down this roadway from the ones that obey the speed limit, have two headlights and no active warrants," Cobb said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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