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Police: Indianapolis man part of interstate marijuana ring; $1 million in pot seized

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INDIANAPOLIS (March 20, 2015) – An Indianapolis man was part of a large interstate drug ring, according to police.

On March 5, detectives with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Violent Crimes Unit took James Matthews, 50, into custody on a warrant out of New Jersey for intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, money laundering and fourth-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Detectives from the Morris County (N.J.) Prosecutor’s Office tipped off VCU detectives about Matthews’ possible whereabouts. After conducting surveillance, investigators found him in the 7700 block of North Michigan Road and arrested him.

Detectives seized $73,000 in cash, a 1997 Dodge Ram truck and a trailer. Matthews was extradited to New Jersey. His arrest came as part of a months-long investigation into a marijuana trafficking operation on the east coast.

Authorities in New Jersey had been looking for Matthews since March 3, when they saw him and another man, Salman “Tito” Khalid, 25, Wharton Borough, N.J., unloading several large cardboard boxes at Khalid’s residence. Police stopped Matthews in his truck, and a K-9 indicated that drugs were in the accompanying trailer.

Law enforcement officials released Matthews pending the search warrant application. After the search warrant was obtained, officers seized about 360 pounds of marijuana with a street value in excess of $1 million as well as $124,000 in cash. Marijuana had been vacuum-sealed in pouches placed inside cardboard boxes, duffel bags and storage bins. Police also found a large amount of marijuana “wax,” a derivative that contains large amounts of THC. Investigators developed information leading them to believe Matthews was in Indianapolis and contacted IMPD.

Police in New Jersey arrested Khalid and another man, Kernley Saint-Victor, 25, Clifton, N.J. Both face multiple charges in connection with the case.

The investigation involved law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions, including federal and state agencies.