Police stop car carrying 115 pounds of marijuana

ASHLAND — Oregon State Police seized approximately 115 pounds of marijuana during an Interstate 5 traffic stop this morning.

OSP troopers pulled over a van heading north on the interstate at around 8 a.m. for a traffic violation. The trooper said he noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the 1997 Dodge van driven by Jesus Lopez-Ramos, 53, of Pasco, Wash.

A search turned up several large garbage bags inside the van stuffed with a total of about 115 pounds of marijuana. OSP estimated the value of the pot at $345,000.

Lopez-Ramos was arrested and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of possession, delivery and manufacture of marijuana. In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents charged him with suspicion of being in the country illegally. He was held without bail.

The marijuana-harvesting season is in full force, so highway patrol troopers are expecting an increase in drugs moving up and down Interstate 5 in the coming weeks, said OSP Lt. Greg Hastings.

"We've already seen more marijuana during traffic stops this month," Hastings said.

The harvest season usually lasts into early November, he added.

"A lot of it moves north from California, but we've seen it head east toward towns such as La Grande," Hastings said.

On Aug. 25, OSP troopers seized 150 pounds of marijuana on Interstate 84 near La Grande, the largest pot bust made on the roads by OSP this year.

Thursday's arrest was the largest marijuana grab in Southern Oregon so far in 2008. The last major OSP marijuana bust in Jackson County happened Oct. 9 when troopers stopped a car on the interstate just south of Ashland which held 28 pounds of marijuana.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Share This Story