500-pound pot bust: Incline man arrested; authorities looking for alleged accomplice | TahoeDailyTribune.com

500-pound pot bust: Incline man arrested; authorities looking for alleged accomplice

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – South Dakota law enforcement officials arrested one Incline Village man and are searching for another who they believe took part in a recent drug trafficking scheme that led to the seizure of nearly 500 pounds of marijuana.

Brule County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested William Mitchell, 34, of Incline Village, April 8 at an Interstate 90 rest area near White Lake, S.D., after a search of his truck led officers to find 497 pounds of high-grade marijuana, valued at a reported street value of $4 million. Mitchell has been charged with felony possession and intent to deliver charges, according to an affidavit from South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Oxner.

On April 8, Oxner pulled over Delgado, traveling eastbound, outside of Rapid City, S.D. (located in Pennington County, the eastern side of the state), for a routine speeding stop. Oxner noted Delgado’s high level of nervousness. A police dog smelled illegal drugs in the car and Oxner searched the vehicle but did not find any contraband. Delgado was eventually released.

Oxner said he suspected that Delgado and his car – a rental from a Truckee rental car agency – were a decoy in a sophisticated trafficking operation.

“The decoy vehicle’s main job is to get stopped, which in turn takes up the officer’s time as the loaded vehicle gets to drive by untouched,” Oxner said.

Oxner learned Delgado stayed in a hotel in Sundance, Wyo. during questioning. Later that day Oxner contacted the clerk in charge of the hotel and determined Delgado had stayed in the hotel with Mitchell. After receiving a description for Mitchell’s vehicle – a light tan Chevy pickup pulling a trailer – Oxner checked the video in his patrol car and saw a vehicle of that exact description passed while he had Delgado pulled over.

Oxner forwarded the description on to SDHP officers Chris Koltz and Andrew Steen. A short time later, Brule County Deputy Scott Powers located Mitchell’s truck, followed it and observed numerous moving violations. Powers conducted a canine search and officers uncovered three large steel crates, two of which contained 497 pounds of hydroponic marijuana.

According to an April 16 story in the Rapid City Journal, Mitchell remained in custody in the Aurora County Jail.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Delgado are asked to call the Rapid City office of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation at 605-394-2258.

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