A Florida man suspected of transporting hundreds of pounds of freshly harvested marijuana in a truck that was stopped by the California Highway Patrol in Anza was free Thursday on a $5,000 bond.
Justin Phillip Martel of Miami, 31, was arrested and booked Sunday into the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of transportation of marijuana for sale.
Martel posted bail the following day and was released from custody.
According to CHP Officer Darren Meyer, a patrol officer spotted the suspect driving a U-Haul box truck with a missing front license plate on Kirby Road, near state Route 371, and stopped him for the alleged motor vehicle violation.
Meyer said the patrolman immediately noticed a “very strong odor of fresh marijuana” emanating from the vehicle and asked Martel to explain, at which point the motorist admitted the “back of the (truck) was completely full of fresh marijuana that he had just harvested.”
Officers seized the truck, determining there was a total 850 pounds of cannabis loaded into it, according to Meyer.
“(Martel) planned on selling it to the local marijuana stores for over $1,000 per pound,” he said.
The Medicinal & Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act, which incorporated all of voter-approved Proposition 64, permits transportation of marijuana statewide for commercial distribution, but parties must receive prior authorization from state regulators and have appropriate documents in hand.
Meyer alleged Martel did not have a permit.