Troopers with the Department of Public Safety uncovered more than 40 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $192,922 in the back of a minivan on Hwy. 287 near Bellevue Tuesday. Three California men were taken into custody.
The driver of a 2004 Toyota Sienna, Nick Nguyen, 44, of Anaheim, Calif., and two passengers, John Nguyen, 62, and Paul Huynh, 24, both of Westminster, Calif., have been charged with possession of marijuana over 5 pounds, under 50 pounds. Bond has been set at $50,000 for Huynh. As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, bonds have not been set for Nick Nguyen or John Nguyen.
John Nguyen is the stepfather of Paul Huynh. The van is registered to Huynh’s mother.
The van was pulled over for a routine traffic stop at 8:56 a.m. for driving in the left lane while not passing. When questioned, the driver and passengers gave conflicting stories about their destination, raising suspicions. The driver denied a request to search the vehicle.
A K9 unit from the Wichita Falls DPS office was called to the scene. The drug sniffing dog alerted near the rear of the vehicle.
In the rear cargo area of the van, Troopers found 43.5 pounds of marijuana in vacuum-packed plastic bags hidden in a suitcase. The suitcase had been sealed inside a cardboard box.
The drug bust is the sixth this year for the DPS on Hwy. 287 in Clay County to net 20 or more pounds of marijuana in a single traffic stop. Troopers discovered 125 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop near New London Road on Feb. 6, and 128 pounds were found during a stop near Bellevue on March 4.