Overweight load leads to inspection, drug bust — and a possible 40 year prison sentence

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says that a truck driver is facing decades in prison after officials discovered hundreds of pounds of marijuana in his truck during a safety inspection.

On Wednesday, July 29, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging truck driver and Romanian citizen Florin Daniel Goran, 36, and his fiancée, California resident Claudia Marie De Marco, 35, with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

The charges stem from a drug bust made on an unspecified date at the Utah Port of Entry off I-80 near Wendover as the truck was allegedly en route to deliver a load of Pedialyte to Columbus, Ohio.

According to the DOJ, an officer conducted a CMV safety inspection on Goran’s truck following an overweight reading at the Port of Entry. During the inspection, the officer “detected the odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the cab” and requested assistance from the Utah Highway Patrol.

The trooper also detected the smell of marijuana coming from the cab of the truck.

During a search of the truck’s cab, officers reportedly discovered a black trash bag behind the driver’s seat in a passenger compartment that contained 11 clear bags that held approximately 1 pound of marijuana each.

During the safety inspection, an agent opened the trailer’s vent door and smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the trailer. Using a flashlight to peer through the vent door, agents saw large black trash bags and unsecured boxes.

The sealed trailer and truck, along with Goran and DeMarco, were taken to the Tooele County Utah Highway Patrol office, where a DEA agent responded to help search the trailer.

According to the DOJ, the trailer contained “330 packages of raw marijuana in clear and black vacuum-sealed bags, each appearing to be approximately 1-pound packages” as well as “1,240 THC vape cartridges, 150 THC chocolate bars, and 126 packages of THC edibles.”

The DOJ says that officers seized approximately 341 pounds of raw marijuana from the truck and trailer.

If convicted, Goran faces up to 40 years in prison with a mandatory minimum 5 year sentence. DeMarco faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted.

“This case is unique only because of the amount of marijuana seized in a semi-truck. Every week, Utah law enforcement officers intercept loads of marijuana transiting Utah’s highways from the west coast to points east. In return, Utah officers will also intercept large bundles of drug-related cash traveling back from the east to the west coast,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said.  “Policy makers and voters in west coast jurisdictions have created dynamics that negatively impact public safety in Utah. Simply put, these west coast marijuana havens cannot control the black market and overproduction dynamics they have created, and Utah is left to fend for ourselves in maintaining the quality of life we enjoy.

“I remind marijuana traffickers who hope to hide amidst the camouflage of state laws that allow marijuana production: federal law prohibits your conduct and I will enforce those provisions of the law in Utah. Marijuana traffickers may want to rethink their travel plans,” Huber said.