NORTH EAST — A Massachusetts man is facing drug importation charges after investigators confiscated almost 40 pounds of suspect marijuana with an approximate street value of nearly $100,000 during an Interstate 95 traffic stop near North East, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Investigators identified the suspect as Robert Nguyen, 39, of Boston, Mass.
Maryland State Police Sgt. C. Connor stopped a 2019 Lexus RX 350 driven by Nguyen in the southbound lane of I-95, about a mile north of the North East-Rising Sun ramps, at approximately 8:40 a.m. Monday for allegedly following a vehicle too closely, police reported.
Connor “detected numerous indicators of criminal activity and believed that Nguyen was actively engaged in a drug crime,” while interacting with him during the traffic stop, police said. (To avoid compromising future investigations, law enforcement officers do not publicly detail indicators of criminal activity.)
The sergeant dispatched MSP Cpl. Hirsch and his specially-trained scent dog, K9 Pascal,” which later alerted to the presence of illegal drugs while performing a sniff scan outside the Lexus, police added.
That led to a probable-cause search of the vehicle, which resulted in Connor finding 30 heat-sealed bags containing a total of 38.4 pounds of suspect marijuana, which translates to 17.4 kilograms or 17,417 grams, according to charging documents.
Connor arrested Nguyen at the traffic stop scene without incident, police reported.
“Evidence and statements made by Nguyen indicate that the marijuana was being transported from Boston, (Mass.), to Washington, D.C. The estimated street value of the suspected marijuana is $96,000,” court records allege.
In his written statement of probable cause, Connor notes that the confiscation of any illegal drug that has been transported across the state line and weighs more than five kilograms — roughly 10 pounds — are elements of a drug importation charge.
Nguyen is charged with importation of marijuana into the state and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, both of which are felonies, and a misdemeanor count of possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana, according to court records, which also indicate that he is scheduled for a April 21 preliminary hearing.
He remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Tuesday afternoon, after his bail review hearing earlier that day, court records show.
This marks the second major marijuana confiscation made by MSP investigators on a Cecil County portion of I-95 in an 11-day period. Court records indicate that Connor also made that first major marijuana seizure.
On March 12, Connor arrested Yong Bao Wang, 62, of Flushing, N.Y. after confiscating 82 pounds of suspect marijuana with an estimated street value of $285,000 during a traffic stop on I-95, about two miles north of the North East-Rising Sun ramps, police said.
In addition, police added, Connor seized a heat-sealed bag containing $105,000 in cash.
Wang, who also remains in the county jail without bond, is facing four drug charges, including importation of marijuana into Maryland.