Troopers stopped a 2005 Jeep Cherokee, with Maryland registration, for following too closely and registration violations on the Ohio Turnpike, near milepost 133, at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. During a probable cause search, after-market modification were found in the rear cargo area floorboard, containing 40 pounds of high grade marijuana, worth $160,000.
The driver, Darrell Ross, 25, and passenger, Mason Budd, 23, both from Cambridge, Md., were incarcerated in the Lorain County Jail and charged with possession of marijuana and drug trafficking, both third-degree felonies, and hidden compartment in motor vehicles, a second-degree felony.
If convicted, each could face up to 18 years in prison and up to a $35,000 fine.
In 2012, Senate Bill 305 prohibited designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.