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Courtesy Ohio State Highway Patrol

Ohio Turnpike tailgating tips off troopers to $4 million pot haul

Statement as issued Thursday by the Ohio State Highway Patrol:

LAKE TWP. – Six men are facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 907 pounds of marijuana, worth $4,117,780, and $13,908 in currency during two-related traffic stops yesterday in Wood County.

A trooper working the Ohio Turnpike observed a rented 2014 Subaru Outback, with Massachusetts registration, following too closely to a motorhome, who was in-turn following the vehicle in front of it too closely as well. The trooper attempted to stop both vehicles at 9:04 a.m., but was only able to stop the Subaru at milepost 71. Upon contact with the driver, the trooper detected an odor of raw marijuana coming from the vehicle and observed marijuana on the driver’s pants. During a probable cause search of the vehicle, the trooper located $9,720 in bundles of U.S. currency.

Further investigation revealed that the motorhome and the occupants of the Subaru were traveling together. Troopers located the motorhome at 9:33 a.m. in a service plaza at milepost 77. Troopers initiated a traffic stop for the original following too closely violation. During contact with the occupants of the motorhome, troopers detected an odor of raw marijuana. A probable cause search revealed 907 pounds of marijuana and $4,188 in U.S. currency.

The driver of the Subaru, Frankie Junior Layz, 22 and his passenger William Luciano Jr., 33, both of Rochester, NY; and the occupants of the motorhome: Justin T. Gould, 27, of Rochester, NY; Jimmy Pross Jr., 35, of Charlotte, NC; and Jose M. Manzanares, 36, of Houston, TX; were incarcerated in the Wood County Jail and were charged with possession of marijuana and trafficking in marijuana, both second-degree felonies; money laundering, a third-degree felony; and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.

During the traffic stop of the motorhome, one suspect fled with his seven year-old son. The suspect was later identified as a known drug violator, of Rochester, NY, and he plans to turn himself in to authorities.

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