Zechariah Heryford, 37, of Galt, California, allegedly admitted that he was trying to deliver marijuana when he was stopped after turning off I-70 on Saturday.
A California man faces drug trafficking charges after he was reportedly found with 115 pounds of marijuana Saturday during an Interstate 70 traffic stop.
Zechariah Heryford, 37, of Galt, California, was driving a gray Nissan Altima eastbound around 5 p.m. on Saturday on I-70 when he caught the attention of Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Steven Johnson. Near mile marker 96 in Cooper County, the patrolman saw Heryford following a tractor-trailer within less than two car-lengths, he wrote in a probable cause statement.
Heryford is facing a felony charge of second-degree drug trafficking. He was being held in the Cooper County Jail for an arraignment Monday.
Johnson reportedly saw the Nissan quickly pass the tractor trailer and move back into the right lane. About a mile further, Johnson again saw the Nissan following a tractor trailer too closely in the right lane.
When the Nissan moved into the left lane to pass the tractor trailer, Johnson positioned himself right behind it, he wrote in a probable cause statement. The Nissan immediately moved back into the right lane and exited I-70 onto southbound Missouri 135 at the 98 mile marker, Johnson wrote.
Johnson followed the Nissan up the exit ramp, where it failed to stop at a stop sign, he wrote in the statement. Heryford was driving the Nissan without any passengers. Johnson wrote that he suspected Heryford of criminal activity, because he was extremely nervous, had luggage that didn’t match his trip, had a “compressed timeline for cross-country travel,” and was unemployed and traveling long distances for “non-work related reasons.”
Heryford did not give Johnson consent to search the Nissan, so Johnson and another trooper had a patrol dog, Rony, do a “free-air sniff” of the car. Rony indicated that it could smell drugs, giving the troopers probable cause to search the car, Johnson wrote.
The troopers found 115 separate bags each containing one pound of marijuana stashed inside duffel bags in the back seat and trunk of the Nissan.
Johnson wrote that Heryford admitted to running the stop sign and possessing the marijuana. He also admitted that he was going to deliver the marijuana, and that he was going to be reimbursed for it, according to the statement.