Published 12:03 pm Friday, April 8, 2016

A Florida man accused of transporting 140 pounds of high-grade marijuana buds in an 18-wheeler was held in the Warren County Jail Thursday.

Nertil Xhelo, 31, 12025 Aroid Court, Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated trafficking, according to Warren County jail records.

At 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, Xhelo stopped his 18-wheeler at the eastbound weigh station on Interstate 20 in Warren County for a regular inspection.

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Mississippi Department of Transportation Office Law Enforcement officers were checking the truck’s fuel, weight, safety and paperwork to make sure the load was secure and matched the description on the shipping papers when they found a duffle bag of marijuana buds at the rear of the trailer and requested assistance from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for reinforcement from the K9 unit.

“I give credit to the alert MDOT officers,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“We were happy to offer assistance with our K9 unit. When agencies work together as well as we do with MDOT, the only people who lose are the criminals.”

Multiple vacuum-sealed plastic bags of high-grade marijuana buds were found inside eight duffle and garbage bags weighting a total of 140 pounds.

The marijuana has an estimated wholesale value of $3,000 to $4,000 per pound.

MDOT Enforcement along with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics are conducting an investigation into the incident to discover the source and destination of the drugs. The tractor and trailer have been impounded.

“I am very proud of our officers and their dedication to the protection of the public,” said Chief Willie Huff, MDOT enforcement director.

“We must continue our vigilance for all types of contraband before it reaches our streets.”

In addition to the marijuana, Xhelo was transporting pallets of canned olives from Corning, Calif., to Plant City, Fla. in his 2004 Freightliner tractor and van trailer. The olives will be released to the owner.