PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. -- Indiana State Police busted a truck driver who tried to hide dozens of pounds of marijuana with yellow mustard.
Prosecutors say the drugs were bound from California to Pennsylvania when they were intercepted in Putnam County. The suspect apparently thought covering his bags of marijuana with mustard would hide the odor. Instead, it’s what got him caught.
Driving east on I-70, a state trooper stopped the suspect’s truck for routine inspection and noticed an overwhelming smell of mustard inside the truck. The trooper then quickly discovered 48 pounds of high-grade marijuana covered in the condiment.
“There’s no limit except the crooks own imagination for how they try to disguise the drugs they’re trafficking,” said ISP Capt. Dave Bursten.
Police arrested 52-year-old Richard Sherman out of California for the crime.
Still, state police admit Indiana’s interstates continue to be a busy pipeline for trafficking illegal drugs.
“This is not unusual as far as what we are exposed to on any given day. We are the crossroads of America, but that means people will transport drugs across the state of Indiana,” said Bursten.
State police say last year their undercover units seized more than 500 pounds of cocaine, 66 pounds of heroin, 165 pounds of meth and more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana.
Those numbers are high, even when they include regular road patrols.
State police say they’ll continue to work as hard as they can catching drug traffickers on I-70 and beyond, but as long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, the supply like the mustard-covered delivery will continue.
“Really the problem is with us. I don’t mean law enforcement. It’s a societal issue. When people do these drugs, they are supporting the drug trafficker,” said Bursten.
Unfortunately, state troopers know they only capture a very small fraction of the drugs being driven across the state. The mustard-covered marijuana in this case had a street value of nearly $200,000.