Memphis, TN – On May 20th, Trooper Owen Grear of the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s (THP) Memphis District Interdiction Plus Unit (IPU) initiated a traffic stop that led to the discovery of approximately 116lbs of marijuana, and the arrest of an Arizona woman on felony drug charges.
Trooper Grear stopped a 2006, Dodge Caravan for a traffic violation on Interstate 40 at mile marker 26 in Shelby County. As Trooper Grear made contact with the vehicle and the driver Karla D. Munoz, 23, of Phoenix, AZ, he observed a five-year-old child in the far rear seat lying down and unrestrained.Additionally, he observed a seven-year-old child in the middle row seat, who was secured.
As the trooper interviewed Munoz, she stated that she and her kids were traveling from Phoenix to Columbus, OH, for a wedding.
Further questioning raised the suspicions of the investigating trooper, so he requested and received consent to search the vehicle.
After receiving consent to search the vehicle, Trooper Grear and two agents with the West Tennessee Drug Task Force (WTDTF) located two hidden non-factory compartments in the vehicles floorboard.
After further investigation of the vehicles floorboard, approximately 116 pounds of suspected marijuana was located in the compartments. The false compartments were each lined with lead, and the contraband was covered with lead sheets to attempt detection by x-ray machines at the border.
“It is really a sad day when a parent engages in criminal activity, endangering their children,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “As our troopers investigate traffic stops they will continue to find more and more cases just like this. Tennessee simply remains a major drug trafficking corridor and we are continuing to work hard to change that.”
The vehicle and $437.00 dollars in cash were seized. Karla Munoz was arrested and charged with felony possession of schedule six drug with the intent to sell and deliver. She was transported to the Shelby County jail without incident.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.