PACE Team members pull hundreds of pounds of marijuana off the streets

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HENRY COUNTY — Officials with the Hancock County PACE Team, including K-9 Manni, assisted in a drug bust along Interstate-70 in Henry County. The catch netted 400 pounds of sealed marijuana worth an estimated $1.4 million in street value, officials said.

The Pro-Active Criminal Enforcement or PACE Team is a multi-jurisdiction, law enforcement task force consisting of officers from the Hancock County Sheriff’s and the Henry County Sheriff’s Departments. They patrol the stretch of Interstate 70 in Hancock and Henry Counties. Their focus is to attempt to apprehend individuals who are committing felonies and other criminal offenses along the highway.

Capt. Robert Harris, public information officer for the HCSD said in a press release the stop happened Wednesday, Sept. 29, around 1:15 p.m. Henry County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. J. Goodwin, who is a member of the PACE Team conducted a traffic stop of a 2021 White Dodge Sprinter Van for following too closely at the 131 mile marker along eastbound I-70.

During the course of the traffic stop the PACE Team deputies observed multiple criminal indicators during contact with the driver and passenger, the release stated.

The driver had a green leafy plant material on his pants that looked like marijuana, officials said. Deputies could also smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, the release stated.

During the course of the probable cause search of the vehicle Sgt. Nick Ernstes and K-9 Manni of the HCSD and PACE Team members located 16 cardboard boxes containing 400 pounds of vacuum sealed marijuana.

The driver, Chas Brown, 27, Baltimore, Maryland, and the passenger, Howard Stevens, 37, Glenn Burne, Maryland, were both arrested without incident and booked into the Henry County Jail where they were each charged with a Level 5 Felony count of dealing marijuana.

The charge carries up to six years in prison.