TOOELE COUNTY (ABC4 News) It’s being called a pipeline drug case. A port of entry agent smelled marijuana in an overweight semi-truck. Utah Highway Patrol was called in and they discovered 341 pounds of marijuana inside the vehicle.
According to documents, after smelling the marijuana, an officer looked through the vent door of the truck with a flashlight and saw large black garbage bags and unsecured boxes. The truck was also transporting a shipment of Pedialyte to Columbus, Ohio.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake has announced a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging two individuals with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
“This case is unique only because of the amount of marijuana seized in a semi-truck. Every week, Utah law enforcement officers intercept loads of marijuana transiting Utah’s highways from the west coast to points east. In return, Utah officers will also intercept large bundles of drug-related cash traveling back from the east to the west coast.” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said, “Policymakers and voters in west coast jurisdictions have created dynamics that negatively impact public safety in Utah. Simply put, these west coast marijuana havens cannot control the black market and overproduction dynamics they have created, and Utah is left to fend for ourselves in maintaining the quality of life we enjoy. ”
According to charging documents, an agent with the Utah Port of Entry made contact with the driver of the commercial semi-truck and trailer following an overweight reading. The driver of the truck was identified with a North Carolina driver’s license as Florin Daniel Goran, 36. Goran is a Romanian citizen. A passenger in the truck was identified as Claudia Marie De Marco, 35, of Hermosa Beach, Calif.
“I remind marijuana traffickers who hope to hide amidst the camouflage of state laws that allow marijuana production: federal law prohibits your conduct and I will enforce those provisions of the law in Utah. Marijuana traffickers may want to rethink their travel plans,” -John W. Huber U.S. Attorney
The complaint states the trailer contained 330 packages of raw marijuana in clear and black vacuum-sealed bags, each appearing to be approximately 1-pound packages. Law enforcement officers also found 1,240 THC vape cartridges, 150 THC chocolate bars, and 126 packages of THC edibles in the trailer.
Goron is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the charge with a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison.
DeMarco is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
The US Attorney’s office stated in the release complaints and indictments are not findings of guilt. Defendants charged in these documents are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.