Search of truck reveals marijuana

two charged

November 06, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Two Georgia brothers were arrested over the weekend when an inspection of their carrot-hauling tractor-trailer - conducted in the aftermath of a heightened terrorist alert - turned up apple boxes filled with bricks of marijuana, Maryland State Police said yesterday.

Keri Faronte Dexter, 26, and Kastonnio Marke Dexter, 27, both of Vienna, Ga., were charged with smuggling marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after investigators discovered 312 pounds of the drug in the refrigerated trailer at an inspection station in a College Park Park-and-Ride.

The marijuana has a street value of $566,000, said Cpl. Rob Moroney, a state police spokesman.

Sgt. Charles Prince, a 14-year state police veteran stationed at the Park-and-Ride at Interstates 495 and 95, used his police dog to check the trailer after finding apples in a truck that, according to the driver's manifest, was supposed to be hauling only carrots, Moroney said. Prince also noticed that the driver, Keri Dexter, appeared nervous, Moroney said. The police dog indicated the presence of drugs, and investigators found the marijuana buried beneath two levels of apples in those boxes, Moroney said.

He attributed the find to the heightened alert since the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that the truck - a 2000 model with no obvious defects - likely would have passed through the station with little notice before security was increased.

The alert has resulted in more inspections of commercial vehicle loads, he said.

The Dexter brothers had traveled from the West Coast and apparently were heading north on I-95, although Moroney would not name their destination because the investigation is continuing.

Investigators have contacted the owner of the carrots to see whether the vegetables, valued at $20,000, can be salvaged, Moroney said. Authorities are starting forfeiture proceedings on the truck and trailer, which are worth about $250,000, he said. The brothers were being held yesterday in the Prince George's County Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bond each.

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