Talk about pot luck.
Police hauled two men to jail this week after finding more than 800 pounds of marijuana stored inside a U-Haul vehicle during a routine traffic stop near John F. Kennedy International Airport, prosecutors said.
According to authorities, on Tuesday afternoon members of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York task force observed Dean M. Webb, 45, of Tampa, Florida behind the wheel of the U-Haul in the vicinity of 182nd Street and Rockaway Boulevard in south Jamaica making a traffic violation — moving from one lane to another without signaling.
When the agents went to question the driver, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown noted, they overheard Webb on the phone allegedly talking with a man named “Scott,” telling him that he was bringing “this” to him. The conversation continued as Webb was detained, and officers overheard “Scott” tell Webb that he witnessed him being pulled over and would visit the location.
Webb reportedly allowed the agents to search the trailer, during which they found five large crates containing the pot, packaged in numerous plastic bags.
Moments later, prosecutors said, a man in a hooded sweatshirt walked up to the area of a parking lot in the vicinity of Rockaway and Guy R. Brewer boulevards where the U-Haul truck was located. Officers asked the man if he was “Scott,” and the man identified himself as such.
“Scott” was later revealed to be Michael V. Laico of Houston, Texas. The officers found three separate driver’s licenses in his possession bearing his image with different addresses. During questioning, authorities said, Laico admitted to working with Webb on similar drug deliveries.
This was the second major marijuana bust in Queens County in six weeks, Brown noted. On Oct. 5, the DEA busted six men from California, Canada and Brooklyn after allegedly finding more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana being transferred from a tractor trailer in Elmhurst into smaller vehicles.
“According to the charges, a minor traffic infraction is the cause for these two individuals to be facing serious drug charges and lengthy incarceration,” Brown said in a statement. “The message couldn’t be clearer: drug dealers should steer clear of Queens County.”
Laico and Webb were each arrested on charges of first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and ordered held on $75,000 bond or $25,000 cash bail. They are scheduled to return to court on Nov. 25.