ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell announced that an alert special operations team was in the right place on Wednesday to seize 19 pounds of marijuana.
"We had a team in the area assigned a different task when one noticed a vehicle traveling erratically," the sheriff said. "When that vehicle was stopped for investigation, it was discovered to be carrying a suitcase full of marijuana."
Ravenell said two Hilton Head men, Forest Bryan, 25, and McKinley Johnson Jr. , 29, were charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, trafficking in marijuana, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
During a hearing on Thursday, bond was set at $50,000 cash or surety for each subject.
An OCSO special ops team was sent to the western part of the county Wednesday afternoon to serve a warrant.
However, as the team returned along Salley Road just west of the Town of North, an officer in that convoy noticed a white Dodge traveling behind the line of police vehicles weaving across the center line.
The last officer in line then pulled over while notifying the other team members, which allowed for the suspicious vehicle to travel on. That officer then stopped the vehicle while the others circled back.
Noticing a strong smell of marijuana as they approached the drive of vehicle, the officers were told nothing was illegal in the car when they asked.
At that point, "Boss," a K9 officer also riding in the convoy, was brought up for deployment. Boss alerted on the Dodge, deputies say.
A small amount of marijuana was located in the back seat of the vehicle, according to deputies.
Further searching the vehicle, a suitcase was located in the truck. The driver held his head down when he was asked if there was any marijuana inside the suitcase, according to the report.
When opened, the suitcase was discovered to contain 19 vacuum-packed bags of marijuana.
Investigators learned the men had paid $57,000 for the narcotic with a street value estimated to be in excess of $75,000.
A .40 caliber handgun was also located in the Dodge along with a quantity of pills, according to the warrants.