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Auburn man arrested in Utah, charged with transporting 75 pounds of pot

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn man was arrested in a rural Utah county on drug charges after a keen-nosed highway patrol officer ferreted out a reported 75 pounds of marijuana inside the SUV he was traveling in. Bradley Gerald Harsh, 43, was stopped for speeding in his rented Kia Sorento SUV on Interstate 70, near Castle Dale, Utah. Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Shawn Alton told the Emery County Progress newspaper that Harsh acted extremely nervous after being stopped and there was a strong odor of marijuana coming from the SUV. A search turned up four large duffle bags with marijuana buds still on stems loosely packed into large plastic bags. Alton said that prices per pound range from $2,500 to $5,000, leaving the presumed value of the payload between $188,000 and $366,000. Harsh is the second Auburn man arrested in recent months in a distant state and charged with transporting marijuana. Robert L. Shipley, 57, was arrested in Lancaster County, Neb. with 41 pounds of marijuana in a U-Haul cargo area after being pulled over for speeding by a state trooper. A .25 caliber handgun was also seized in the arrest, according to reports. In the Progress article, Alton said Denver is a hub for drugs to be repackaged and then travel to other locations in the east. Alton said that with an FBI study indicating 19 out of 20 drug runs go undetected, the March 23 bust was an exception. Harsh is now facing felony charges, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is also a facing possession of a deadly weapon charge after the search turned up a large knife, Alton said. With marijuana found in a small baggie mixed with coffee grounds in the passenger compartment, Harsh also faces a possession of personal use marijuana charge in Emery County. An Emery County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Tuesday that Harsh was discharged from jail after making bail March 23. Robert L. Shipley is not to be confused with contractor Robert Franklin Shipley, 45, of Auburn.