The “Hands Across the Border” operation at the Tennessee-Alabama state line over the long holiday weekend helped authorities get their hands on 20 pounds of marijuana, Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett said.
The “Hands Across the Border” program unites Tennessee law enforcement agencies with counterparts in neighboring states to promote safety on the highways.
Sheriff Burnett said most citations written at a weekend checkpoint on U.S. Highway 72 were routine tickets for seat belt, registration, driver’s license or equipment violations.
But one car triggered a search by Marion’s drug dog Saturday night, he said.
“A car came through that had an odor of marijuana around it,” he said. More than 20 pounds of the illegal weed was found on the back seat of a 2004 Ford Explorer, along with a sawed-off shotgun, the sheriff said.
The driver, Chenir Weeks, 26, of Huntsville, Ala., and passenger, Nastassia Kendrick, 21, of Anniston, Ala., both were charged with felony possession of marijuana for resale. Weeks also was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, Mr. Burnett said.
Last year’s “Border” event netted five pounds of pot, he said.
Mr. Weeks and Ms. Kendrick were released on $7,500 and $5,000 bond, respectively, and face preliminary hearings June 25.
The multiagency “Hands Across the Border” operation “gives you a chance to work with other counties and see how the other counties work; work with the highway patrol to see how they work,” said Dunlap, Tenn., Police Sgt. Randy Phillips.
Dunlap police participated, along with officers from as far as Pikeville and Crossville, Tenn., he said.
“Unless we have some kind of investigation that goes from one city to the other or one county to the other, we don’t get a chance to work together a whole lot,” Sgt. Phillips said.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...