Quay traffic stop nets pot cache

Thomas Garcia

A Georgia man is in federal custody following a traffic stop resulting in the seizure of 900 pounds of marijuana near Tucumcari.

Forrest McLaughlin of Atlanta was arrested by a New Mexico Motor Transportation Police after $1.3 million of marijuana was discovered stacked behind pallets of cantaloupes, said Major Ron Cordova.

McLaughlin, 46, and the marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration out of Albuquerque on Tuesday, Cordova said.

McLaughlin was parked Monday night in a no-parking zone on an Interstate 40 off-ramp near Tucumcari, according to a press release.

Cordova said at 9:45 p.m., a motor transportation police officer whose identity is being withheld stopped to find out why McLaughlin’s semi-truck was parked in a no parking zone.

“The officer became wary when McLaughlin’s logbook and story did not match up,” Cordova said.

Cordova said the officer reviewed McLaughlin’s paperwork and inspected the cargo with the assistance of Tucumcari Police Departments K-9 officer Dennis Garcia and his partner “Toro.” He said they discovered $1.3 million worth of marijuana bundled, boxed and stacked behind pallets of cantaloupes.

The melons were on their way to North Carolina from California and the pot was picked up in Phoenix, Ariz. headed for Philadelphia, according to the release.