Police seized more than 16 pounds of marijuana and charged a 25-year-old man with drug trafficking after they searched two rooms at a Budget Inn early Thursday.
John Michael Sanchez, for whom officials had no permanent address, was arrested outside the hotel at 2729 S. Wilmington St. He fled on foot during a search of one room, but was captured shortly afterward, police said in asking a magistrate to approve a search warrant for a second room.
In addition to the marijuana, the search warrant returned to the court clerk’s office said police had seized 93 grams – about 3.3 ounces – of a concentrated form of tetrahydro cannabinol (THC) called butane hash oil, $7,300 in cash from the room and a car, and several items of drug paraphernalia. THC is the active component in marijuana.
Sanchez also was charged with manufacturing a Schedule VI drug – the hash oil – and felony marijuana possession. He was held in lieu of $100,000 bail on the three felony charges.
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The arrest and seizure stemmed from Officer W.R. Jackson’s having smelled the odor of marijuana around the door to Room 60 when he was making a security patrol at the hotel earlier this week, he said in applying for the search warrant.
Early Thursday, Jackson wrote, a hotel employee told him that guests who were staying in Room 59 were paying for Room 60, too. He found the door to Room 59 ajar and checked for people there, he said.
The Room 59 residents came back while Jackson was there, and they let him search it, he told the magistrate. He said he found drug paraphernalia and material used to package drugs. Sanchez told Jackson he was one of the people occupying that room, the application said.
Based on what officers found in Room 59, they searched Sanchez’ car and found more than $5,000 and a key to Room 60.
Those “obvious signs of drug sales” were a reason to search Room 60, Jackson told the magistrate.