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Arizona man arrested in Callaway on drug charges

A traffic stop along Interstate 70 led to a drug arrest in Callaway County Wednesday.

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Jose D. Lopez

Jose D. Lopez, 30, of Cottonwood, Ariz., was arrested and charged with first-degree possession of marijuana and trafficking drugs after a search of his vehicle revealed 132 pounds of marijuana.

According to Sgt. Paul Reinsch, spokesperson for Troop F of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a trooper initiated a traffic stop near the 142-mile marker because Lopez was following the driver in front of him too closely.

Lopez denied a request to search his vehicle. A subsequent K-9 search led to the discovery of the marijuana, which was located in the cargo area of the vehicle.

“(Lopez’s) answers and some of the things (the trooper) saw indicated criminal activity,” Reinsch said. “Our officer notified the K-9 unit, and the dog alerted on the vehicle.”

Reinsch said that although 132 pounds is slightly larger than the amount generally found in traffic stops — noting that the patrol has found “thousands of pounds” of marijuana on tractor trailers — it is not unusual to find larger quantities of drugs “when they’re being transported across the country.”

He did not know what Lopez’s destination was. Reinsch said the marijuana recovered had an estimated value of approximately $150,000.

“It depends on the quality of the product and what quantity they plan to sell it in,” he said.

Lopez was being held at the Callaway County Jail Thursday afternoon on $50,000 bond.

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