MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. - Ryan Ferrand said he was just minding his own business Wednesday night, driving eastbound on I-70 through Morgan County on his way back home to Brooklyn.
“I’m doing 67 in a 70. Doing nothing wrong. Got pulled over,” said the New York City man. “I pulled over. I seen the lights. I pulled over and I said, ‘Did I do something wrong?’”
A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the newly formed Morgan County PACE Team and trained in highway drug trafficking charged Ferrand with marijuana possession and dealing when a drug sniffing canine hit on the rental car and discovered 31,000 vape tubes filled with liquid THC.
Authorities said the marijuana product would bring $1.25 million on the streets of the East Coast making Ferrand’s traffic stop the most lucrative drug bust in Morgan County's history.
“We kind of feel comfortable at this time that he was just a delivery person,” said Mooresville Police Chief Richard Allen. “He was given some instruction to divert to point A and return to point B and he would be paid.
“This is the second time that these officers have been out.”
The PACE Team, its training, equipment and overtime financed by a $25,000 grant from the Morgan County Substance Abuse Council, is on the lookout for traffic infractions that can lead to drug investigations.
“They’re looking for inconsistency in stories,” said Sheriff’s Captain Brent Worth. “Where the people are coming to and from.”
Investigators said Ferrand fit that bill, and his jailhouse interview with Fox 59 didn’t shed much more light on his travels, motivations and details.
“You think I’m Pablo Escobar,” he said. “I don’t know people like that. I’m a regular nobody who drives a truck.”
He was also driving a rental Subaru with Arizona plates and three duffle bags full of vape tubes that Ferrand claimed were filled with legal liquid flavors like cotton candy and that he was bringing home 31,000 vape tubes from Los Angeles for his personal consumption.
“I was going to keep them for myself,” said Ferrand. “Absolutely. They were gonna last…I got a 12 year old nephew who smokes them. He kills them things in a freakin’ half a day.”
Ferrand said vapes that are bought for $6 in Los Angeles, where he was visiting for a friend’s funeral over the weekend, go for $15 back in Brooklyn.
“Do the math,” said Ferrand as he reflected on what he claimed was a clever though ill-fated money-saving deal to feed his habit. “I smoke like three packs of cigarettes myself a day.”
Ferrand admitted he didn’t remember where he bought the vapes or how much he paid or even had a receipt for a transaction that, by his own calculations, would have cost $180,000 for legitimate vapes.
Ferrand did admit needing a smoke while he sat in the Morgan County Jail awaiting his initial hearing Friday.
“I could really use a cigarette,” he said. “You happen to have one?”
Unfortunately for Ferrand, I don’t smoke and the Morgan County Jail has a no smoking policy.