DPS seizes $2.4 million worth of marijuana

A routine traffic stop Tuesday on Interstate 40 led to the seizure of more than 740 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $2.4 million and the arrest of a 31-year-old Georgia man.

Around 2 p.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety highway patrol officer Mike Williams stopped Orlando Ford for an alleged moving violation in the eastbound lane of the interstate near the Beale Street off ramp.

At first, Ford refused consent of Williams to search his 2000 Chevrolet pickup.

Suspicious, Williams called for backup from Officer Mike Huggins and his drug-sniffing dog, Rudi, to help search the truck.

"Rudi was alerted to the tailgate of the pickup," Huggins said of his partner.

In the back of the truck, under a plastic covering, the officers found 742 pounds of marijuana in about 11 boxes.

What was believed was higher-grade marijuana, a darker reddish color, was also found buried under packing material in an inflatable beach ball that looked like a baseball, Williams said.

Ford, who was charged with transportation of marijuana for sale, was believed to have traveled from California and was heading east, Williams said.

Huggins, the lone DPS canine officer in the Kingman area, has worked with Rudi for four years.

The 9-year-old German shepherd has worked with DPS's canine unit for seven years.

Two months ago, DPS offiders made a stop and seized about 100 pounds of marijuana while 150 pounds of the drug was seized in December.

"This is a decent size for around here," Williams said of Tuesday's arrest.

"That is a lot for Northern Arizona."

Williams said larger qualities of marijuana are more commonly discovered on highways in the southern part of the state.