State Police seized 246 pounds of marijuana from an SUV on Route 222 in Berks

Sept. 12 – A New York man faces drug trafficking charges after state police said they found 246 pounds of marijuana in a luxury SUV he was driving on Route 222 in southern Berks County.

Hassan T. Dagher, 23, of Astoria, Queens, was lodged in Berks County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail awaiting a post-arraignment hearing Friday night before District Judge Alvin B. Robinson in Reading Central Court.

State police charged Dager with possession of marijuana, vehicle law violations and intent to deliver.

According to the affidavit of probable cause:

A trooper assigned to the State Police Narcotics Enforcement Division was in an unmarked vehicle monitoring southbound traffic in the town of Brecknock on Friday around 10 a.m. when he saw a Porsche Cayenne with heavily tinted windows drive by.

The trooper pulled over, and as he approached the SUV, he could see the interior filled to the ceiling with trash bags that would have blocked the driver’s view out the side and rear windows.

The SVU swerved over the white line several times as the soldier followed. The trooper activated his emergency lights and sirens at the ramp of West Lancaster Street.

When he approached the vehicle from the passenger side to speak with Dagher, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana. Dagher explained that he was transporting cannabis in garbage bags.

Hemp consists of the stem portion of the hemp plant, and unlike marijuana, is not considered a controlled substance under Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substances, Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics Act.

A K-9 team specializing in drug detection was dispatched. A drug detection dog indicated the presence of marijuana in the vehicle.

During the search, the officer found 12 trash bags containing 246 1-pound bags of suspected marijuana as well as envelopes containing labels for different flavors of THC products. THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana.

The labels listed percentages of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that far exceeded the 0.30% threshold allowed by state law for a hemp product to be considered hemp.

Dager insisted that the product was real hemp, as evidenced by the paperwork purporting to prove it. The policeman told him that he thought the papers were illegal.

Dagger was taken into custody.

One of the bags of suspected marijuana was transported to the State Police forensic laboratory in Bethlehem for examination. Analysis showed that the THC level was above the 0.30% threshold, so it was identified as marijuana.

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