Lansdale Police seized 223 pounds of marijuana, totaling $223,000, from a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and a tractor trailer during a drug surveillance operation Sept. 28 that began at The Pavilion Shopping Center.
Andre Lue, 40, of an apartment on the 600 block of South Broad Street, Lansdale, was arrested and charged in the incident as the driver and owner of the tractor trailer, police said.
Police are searching for a second suspect.
On Sept. 28, at 12:54 a.m., Lansdale Police Officer David Gori, who is a member of the county District Attorney's Drug Task Force, was on patrol in a marked police car in the shopping center at 535 South Broad Street.
Gori came upon a tractor trailer, a 2003 Volvo VNL 780, parked along the fence line in the southern section of the parking lot near Children of America, police said.
Gori saw that one of the rear hinged doors was open in the trailer portion of the rig, police said.
A silver Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was backed up to the rear of the tractor trailer, police said.
Gori saw a man standing between the Tacoma pickup truck and the tractor trailer, who appeared to be loading something from the back of the trailer into the truck, police said.
Police said the suspect spotted Gori's vehicle when the officer attempted to take a surveillance position.
The suspect got into the Tacoma and sped away from the scene, police said.
The driver abandoned the vehicle at at 611 South Broad Street, police said.
Backup units, including Upper Moreland Police K-9 Officer Rems and K-9 Dex, arrived at the scene.
Dex walked around the exterior of the Tacoma and alerted to the odor of illegal drugs several times around the side of the truck bed and the rear tailgate, police said.
The Tacoma was impounded by police.
Members of the county District Attorney's Narcotics Enforcement Team responded and assisted Lansdale Police with the investigation.
Police said Lue was discovered in the hallway of his apartment building, located near his tractor trailer. Police said Lue is a self-employed, cross-country driver with routes from California to the East Coast.
An investigation determined the pickup truck contained seven large bails of marijana wrapped in cellophane, police said.
Two additional large bails of marijuana wrapped in cellophane were discovered in the rear portion of the tractor trailer, police said.
The tractor trailer found at the scene and the Toyota Tacoma were seized by detectives and a forfeiture proceeding will be instituted in the case, police said.
Lue is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.
Police are continuing to search for the driver of the pickup truck, who fled the scene and avoided apprehension, police said.
Lue was arraigned before District Judge Joseph Dougherty and bail was set at $500,000 cash, police said. Lue was transported to Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 27 at 1:45 p.m. before District Judge Harold Borek.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tonya Lupinacci, captain of the narcotics unit.