Troopers seize marijuana worth more than $11.6 million

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

June 17, 2014

LEWISBURG – Two men are facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 2,330 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $11.6 million following a traffic stop in Preble County. This was the second-largest marijuana seizure in Patrol history, according to troopers.

The largest seizure occurred in 2005 when troopers seized 3,181 pounds of marijuana in Preble County.

Troopers stopped a 2014 Ford U-Haul, with Arizona registration, for a following too closely violation on Interstate 70, near milepost 13, at 2:26 p.m. on Saturday, June 14.

Criminal indicators were observed and a Preble County Sheriff’s Office drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed 84 bundles of compressed marijuana, weighing 2,330 pounds, troopers said.

The driver, Mario Arnold Mendoza, 29, of Port Arther, Texas, and passenger, Hector Andres Olea-Castro, 30, from Tijuana, Mexico were incarcerated in the Preble County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana, a second-degree felony.

If convicted, each could face up to eight years in prison and up to a $7,500 fine.

Additional court information was unavailable at press time.