Friday, June 29, 2012

State police catch California man transporting 400 pounds of pot to Scranton

By Denis J. O'Malley (Staff Writer)
Published: June 27, 2012

State troopers uncovered 400 pounds of marijuana, tightly sealed inside a wooden crate, headed into Scranton from California after they tailed it to the city from Bucks County.
The troopers caught up with the package in Bensalem Twp., where it arrived at YRC Freight, according to a criminal complaint.
In addition to the screws holding the crate closed, its seams were sealed with glue - an effort by drug traffickers to contain the odor from drug-sniffing dogs, police said.
Darin Gilbreath, 47, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., arrived to pick up the crate before the shipping company even had the chance to enter its arrival into the computer system to notify him, according to the complaint.
Another common trait of drug-trafficking via traditional shipping, police said, is for the traffickers to conceal a GPS unit in the package to keep themselves aware of its location at all times.
Mr. Gilbreath took the package and drove from Bensalem Twp. to Scranton, where he stopped at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center on Adams Avenue, changed his clothes and walked over to Kildare's Irish Pub on Jefferson Avenue, according to the complaint.
When the troopers confronted him, Mr. Gilbreath explained that he was hired to personally deliver film equipment and was waiting to hear from its recipient. When troopers asked if they could search the package, he refused, citing his policy of not allowing searches of customers' freight, according to the complaint.
After noticing Mr. Gilbreath had two cellphones, one of which he used unsuccessfully to reach the recipient to corroborate his story for troopers, they asked to look at the other one. Though he said it was an extra phone he used to contact his girlfriend so that his wife wouldn't notice, the only communication on the phone was a text message to a man saying nothing more than "8:30," according to the complaint.
The troopers then called in Scranton police Officer Mike Marino and his K9, Justus, who indicated there were controlled substances in the crate. A search warrant was issued to the troopers, and they found 400 pounds of marijuana packaged in heat-sealed bags stored in cardboard boxes inside the crate, according to the complaint.
Mr. Gilbreath was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of criminal use of a communication facility.
He was sent to Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $200,000 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 5

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