By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Police Department seized 559 pounds of marijuana — with a street value estimated at $894,400 — on Sunday on East Main Street during a routine traffic stop, according to a press release from police.
“It appears that the marijuana may have been heading to Amarillo,” said the press release. “Amarillo is about an hour and a half from Tucumcari and drugs are commonly transported from Amarillo to Tucumcari.”
Tucumcari is a small hub for distribution to other parts of the United States, a law enforcement official said.
“We have worked cases in the past where large quantities of narcotics are stored and distributed out of Quay County,” said Capt. Daniel Lopez of the New Mexico State Police.
“There are large-scale distributors and brokers in our county, but they act more as a relay point for shipments destined for eastern seaboard cities or Midwest states.
“They usually don’t distribute to local street dealers because that could draw unwanted attention to them. Tucumcari is a prime location for such activities, as it is along I-40, is a rural community and there are several routes like Highway 54 leading out of Tucumcari.”
Tucumcari police seized about 125 pounds of marijuana on Dec. 20 from a vehicle traveling along I-40.
In the most recent seizure, Cpl. Darrick Shaw of the Tucumcari Police stopped a 1996 Dodge pickup for a traffic violation, said the release.
With assistance of New Mexico State Police officer Christopher Stimpson and a K-9 unit, Shaw suspected the vehicle could be transporting controlled substances, according to the release.
The Dodge was impounded awaiting the issuing of a search warrant with the assistance of Tucumcari Police Sgt. Patricia Lopez and deputies from the Quay County Sheriff’s office, according to the release.
After searching the vehicle, the marijuana was discovered in a locked toolbox, the release reads.
Police are continuing to investigate the case, according to the release.
The release did not give details about the driver or any passengers in the Dodge pickup.