1,000 pounds of pot

There is another star on the clipboard for Mark Lewis, a DPS patrolman with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau in Camp Verde.

Lewis pulled over an 18-wheel tractor trailer rig on I-17 near Camp Verde and found it contained nearly 1,000 pound of marijuana.

Their first mistake, according to Lewis, is that the truck was speeding through a construction zone. He says the DOT authorized bumper had been removed. That is when he pulled the truck over and began asking questions.

The answers "sent up red flags." The pair didn't know any of the common requirements of commercial drivers. They did not have a logbook, manifest and did not have medical cards. "There are about 10 documents they are required to carry."

One of the drivers said he had been waiting seven days in Phoenix for a load of produce. Lewis said he knew that was wrong because there is plenty of produce to go around at this time of year.

The second driver claimed he had just flown in from Florida and since their truck was empty and they were now headed to Texas to pick up a load of meat. Lewis could tell, "there were just a lot of discrepancies and they were not knowledgeable about commercial hauling," The officer called for backup and then looked into the trailer through an inspection portal in the refrigerated truck.

He found that the truck contained three pallets of product in big cardboard boxes that you check whether it is cabbage or lettuce or other produce.

The boxes contained bales of marijuana four feet high and four feet on each side. The load had a strong odor of marijuana. When he attempted to open the doors of the trailer, he found it padlocked. The drivers, at first, claimed they did not have a key.

At that point the drivers stopped talking to the officer. They are identified as Anthony Marcianek, 42, of New Port Richey, Fla. and Luis Francisco Rios, 32, of Clearwater, Fla.

The marijuana totaled 943 pounds and is estimated to be worth a half million dollars.

They were charged with Transportation of Marijuana for Sale and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. They also had 17 commercial truck violations.

The investigation is now being continued by the

It is not Lewis' only large bust. Last year he collared a truckload with 1,700 pounds of marijuana on I-10.

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