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State police make major drug bust on Route 222 in Berks, confiscating 246 pounds of marijuana

According to troopers, the driver strongly claimed that a dozen garbage bags filled the vehicle to its roof, and that these bags were made of hemp material.

A New York man has been arrested on drug-trafficking charges after state police discovered a whopping 246 pounds of marijuana in a luxurious SUV he was driving on Route 222 in southern Berks County.

The suspect, 23-year-old Hassan T. Dager from Astoria, Queens, has been detained in Berks County Prison, awaiting a hearing, after his arraignment on Friday night before District Judge Alvin B. Robinson in Reading Central Court. His bail has been set at $100,000.

Dager is facing charges of possessing and intending to deliver marijuana, as well as vehicle code violations, according to the probable cause affidavit.

In an intriguing turn of events, a trooper from the state police drug law enforcement division stumbled upon a potentially illegal situation while conducting routine surveillance. While monitoring southbound traffic in Brecknock Township, the trooper spotted a Porsche Cayenne with suspiciously dark windows. As he followed the vehicle, he noticed that it contained garbage bags piled up to the roof, obstructing the driver's view.

Growing more suspicious by the minute, the trooper witnessed the SUV swerve over the white line several times. Realizing the urgency of the situation, he promptly activated his emergency lights and siren, signaling the driver to pull over.

Approaching the vehicle, the trooper was immediately greeted by a pungent aroma of marijuana. The driver, identified as Dager, explained that he was simply transporting hemp in the garbage bags. However, this claim raised further suspicions.

To ensure a thorough investigation, a K-9 team specializing in narcotics detection was called to the scene. The drug-detection dog quickly alerted the presence of marijuana within the vehicle.

During the subsequent search, the trooper discovered a shocking amount of evidence. Twelve garbage bags were found, containing a total of 246 smaller bags suspected to be filled with marijuana. Additionally, envelopes containing sticker labels for various THC products were uncovered. THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, is known to have significant effects on the human body.

What makes this discovery even more alarming is that the labels on the THC products indicated extraordinarily high percentages of THC, exceeding the legal threshold set by the state of Pennsylvania for cannabis products to be considered hemp.

Despite Dager's insistence that the product was indeed hemp and supported by allegedly legitimate paperwork, the trooper expressed doubts regarding its authenticity. As a result, Dager was taken into custody.

To further verify the nature of the contents, one of the suspected marijuana bags was sent to the state police crime lab in Bethlehem for testing. The analysis conclusively revealed that the THC level exceeded the 0.30% threshold, confirming that it was, in fact, marijuana.

This incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts by law enforcement to combat the illicit drug trade and ensure public safety.

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