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Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Bust, Arrests in Wathena

Two men are in custody following a significant drug bust in Wathena. Police arrested the men during a traffic stop on Friday, Dec. 6, where officers found more than 220 pounds of marijuana.
(WATHENA, Ks.) Two men are in custody following a significant drug bust in Wathena, Kan.

Wathena Police Chief Jason Pendleton arrested the men during a traffic stop on Friday, Dec. 6, where officers found more than 220 pounds of marijuana.

Pendleton said the driver, who only had a driver's license from Mexico, was originally stopped for speeding on US 36 Highway near 7th Street in Wathena around 6 o'clock p.m.

During the stop, Pendleton said he noticed several red flags that led to a search of the vehicle by the Elwood Police Department's K-9 officer.

"Little indicators that, on their own, might not seem like much, but all together were suspicious," he said.

The K-9 alerted Sgt. Neal Hontz to a speaker box in the back of the mini van. That's where the officer found what appeared to be illegal narcotics.

The driver of the van and his passenger were taken in to custody at that point and the van was moved off the highway for an extensive search.

According to Pendleton, officers found 151 wrapped "bricks" of marijuana weighing between one-half pound to three pounds each, for a total of 223.3 pounds. Pendleton said the street value of the drugs would be between $500,000 and $700,000.

Police said the van was from Colorado, but officers are working with the FBI to learn more about where the men were headed.

Both suspects are being held in the Doniphan County Jail pending charges in the case.
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