Two Marathon men said they were not transporting almost a pound of weed from Miami-Dade to the Keys to sell. The driver told police, rather, that he just always buys his personal stash in bulk because he saves money that way, according to a Florida Highway Patrol arrest report.
However, the teens did not know that while they were sitting in the back of an FHP squad car as a trooper searched the driver’s vehicle, an in-car camera recorded their conversation. The talk reportedly differed significantly from what they told the police about the drugs.
“The driver had tried to tell me that the marijuana was for his personal use and that it was cheaper for him to buy it in bulk every other month,” the trooper wrote on Sunday.
“He stated he would buy $1,100 every other month, which is what the amount he had was — this in contradiction to what he and the passenger stated in my vehicle.”
Roberto Garcia and Alexis Rodriguez, both 19, face charges of possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession with intent to sell, deliver and distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to commit those crimes. They were booked and released from the Plantation Key jail on Sunday with no bond listed on the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office website. They could not be reached for comment.
An FHP trooper pulled over the 2005 Chevrolet Silverado that Garcia was driving southbound on U.S. 1 in Key Largo around midnight after noticing one of the brake lights was out and some of the letters on the license plate were removed. The trooper stated in his report that while standing beside the passenger’s side of the truck, he smelled “the strong odor of raw marijuana and burnt marijuana from inside the vehicle.”
“Both the driver and the passenger appeared to have been smoking marijuana,” the trooper wrote in his report.
The trooper called for backup from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and searched the pickup. Inside, he found a marijuana grinder, several small blunts in the ashtray and four half-gallon jars full of marijuana. The trooper found another jar that was empty, but did contain marijuana residue, he wrote in his report.
Garcia told the trooper that Rodriguez did not know there was that much marijuana in the car, but the trooper said footage from his in-car camera “indicates that the passenger and the driver had knowledge of all the marijuana in the vehicle.”
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204