California Highway Patrol officers helping with road closures during El Dorado County’s destructive King fire discovered something more than family pictures and important documents being taken out of the fire zone – they stopped a truck with 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
CHP officers were busy during the wildland blaze, making sure looting did not occur and enforcing road closures. On Sept. 16, a few days after the King fire erupted, a traffic stop for a minor infraction at Rock Creek Road and Highway 193 resulted in the drug discovery.
A box utility van was traveling southbound on Rock Creek Road approaching the road closure and slowed to a stop before turning onto High 193. The two officers staffing the road closure smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the van, according to a CHP news release.
Officers and a specially trained police dog named Fox found more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana loosely piled in the back of the rental truck being smuggled out of one of the evacuated communities.
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Dusty Vaughn Etheridge, 22, of Placerville was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana.
CHP officials said the case is still under investigation.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.