Man found dead near large marijuana haul
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - It was a large seizure of Marijuana, an estimated twelve million dollars’ worth, taken into possession by the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Police know who is connected to all that pot, but they can't ask him any questions because the man was discovered dead near a white van containing part of the big haul.
The rest of it was found in a tractor trailer at a big rig storage facility on the 6200 block of Best Friend Road near Norcross.
“The street value for all of this marijuana is estimated to be about $12 million,” said Corporal Michele Pihera, as she pointed to the marijuana haul on a computer screen. She said the large haul of pot was discovered in an unusual set of circumstances.
“To find $12 million worth of marijuana next to a dead person, dying of natural causes was quite unusual," said Corporal Pihera. She said the man was found slumped over near a white van in the storage yard Monday around 1 a.m. with no signs of foul play.
“That's crazy it was just next to us, I guess you never know what's going on next to you,” said Jose Balcarlal, who works for a landscaping company with equipment parked in the yard. Balcarlal said he saw the buzz of police activity Monday morning but did not know what it was about.
Police said while waiting for the Medical Examiners to remove the man's body, officers noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the van. Once the man's body was taken away, police secured search warrants for the van and a tractor trailer nearby which had similar looking boxes in it as were in the van.
“They noticed similar boxes in both those vehicles and that's what led to them doing a little bit more investigation and the discovery of all the marijuana,” said Corporal Pihera.
The man found with all the pot has been identified as Johnny Taylor, 31, of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Police said security footage shows a man dropping off a tractor trailer followed by a person in the white van the night before the pot was discovered and Taylor found dead.
“I don't know if this was a one man operation or if he was working with others. It's certainly a very large amount for just one person to be responsible for,” said Corporal Pihera.
“I knew we had a lot of those problems in Georgia, but I didn't know they were so close to us," said Balcarlal.
Police said they do not know the exact cause of death for Taylor which was only described as natural causes by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Gwinnett County Police Department. There is a two thousand dollar Crime Stoppers reward involved. Tipsters can remain anonymous.