Crime & Courts

I-77 traffic stop yields $9,640 worth of marijuana, paraphernalia, guns

An Atlanta man was arrested in Iredell County after authorities pulled him over and discovered more than $9,000 of marijuana in his car, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The Sheriff’s Office said Antonio Martinez, 51, of Oak Grove Road in Atlanta, was driving in a 1995 Cadillac and was following too closely on Interstate 77 when authorities stopped his car about 9:40 a.m. on Thursday.

During the traffic stop, deputies smelled an “overwhelming odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” according to the statement.

Deputies searched the vehicle and found a cardboard box containing 18 glass Mason jars with marijuana. The marijuana totaled about 482 grams, with a street value of $9,640, according to the statement.

The search also yielded three pistols, one shotgun, one SKS assault rifle and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies also found equipment used in what they believe would be an elaborate marijuana-growing operation, including lights, extension cords, fans, liquid fertilizer, vent tubes and a portable tent, according to the statement.

Deputies also seized $3,944 cash and the Cadillac, according to the statement.

Martinez was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance, carrying concealed weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said.

Martinez was taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where he is being held under a $50,000 secure bond, authorities said.