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Police discover $1.4M pot stash

DULUTH - Cheech and Chong ain't got nothing on these suspects.

A Utah truck driver and his passenger were arrested Wednesday morning after 308 pounds of marijuana - a stash worth $1.4 million on the street - was found in a tractor-trailer traveling on Gwinnett's busiest roadway, police said.

The bust started with a routine traffic stop on Interstate 85. An officer pulled over the driver's 1999 Freightliner tractor-trailer for commercial vehicle violations near Pleasant Hill Road, then asked the driver for consent to search. The driver obliged, said Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

The officer "asked to search the vehicle based on his knowledge and experience in the field," Spellman said.

The men had allegedly hidden the dope - which the officer quickly found - in the truck's cab.

The driver, Miguel Angel Flores, 34, of Salt Lake City, told police they were not stopping in Georgia and were en route to another state, Spellman said. The truck's cabin is painted with the words "El Ruisenor" or "The Nightingale," referring to the migratory bird.

Both Flores and the passenger, Carlos Flore Aria, 27, of Lumberton, N.C., were arrested and taken to the Gwinnett County Jail. Investigators were interrogating both men late Wednesday.

Spellman was unsure what charges the men will face.

The Gwinnett County Police Interdiction Unit - an eight-member team launched in January - made the arrest. The unit's primary focus is to thwart drug traffic on Gwinnett's major roadways.

Two weeks ago, the unit made news when members stopped a Dodge pickup truck packed with nearly a dozen illegal immigrants. Police suspect the vehicle, registered in Arizona, could be part of a human-smuggling ring.