The 10th Judicial Drug Task Force recently seized $137,000 during a routine traffic stop that led them to stopping the distribution of 300,000 ecstasy pills in Texas.
The 300,000 ecstasy pills were estimated at a street value of $5 million.
Ecstasy is a stimulant drug causing euphoric and hallucinogenic effects.
According to Drug Task Force Director Mike Hall, on Jan. 7 agents conducted a traffic stop in Bradley County along I-75.
The vehicle was a Knoxville taxi cab and the driver was transporting a female passenger.
According to Hall, agents found a large amount of currency after the female passenger gave agents consent to search the vehicle.
During their investigation agents determined the taxi-driver had no knowledge of the cash and had merely been contracted to transport the unnamed female.
"We did a thorough investigation and the woman then told us that she was headed to Texas to pickup a large quantity of ecstasy to trade for other drugs," Hall said.
Hall said the Drug Task Force alerted authorities in Houston, Texas,and received word to transport the passenger to Texas to locate the drugs.
"When we got to Texas we located the pills at a warehouse," Hall said.
The female suspect reportedly had an estimated 150 pounds of ecstasy pills stashed in suitcases in the warehouse.
Hall said the woman was part of a drug organization that is operating largely out of Buffalo, N.Y.
While in route to Houston, the woman reportedly received text messages and phone calls from the leader of her organization. He arranged additional meetings for her in Houston to pick up an additional 60,000 ecstasy pills and meetings to trade the pills for kilos of cocaine.
"We were able to obtain the 60,000 ecstasy pills and to make an arrest with one of the guys but the others caught wind and fled the scene," Hall said.
Hall said the Drug Task Force will not release names at this point due to the ongoing investigation.
"The female is now being considered as a cooperative witness for the federal government," he said. "The male suspect we caught wasn't cooperating at first but he is now."
By Linda Womack
Cleveland Daily Banner
Thursday, Jan 15, 2009