A three-month investigation has failed to uncover the source, or the destination, of nearly a ton of marijuana seized in Augusta County. Wednesday, that massive shipment of weed went up in smoke, professionally destroyed due to lack of evidence.
At close to a ton, it was the biggest drug seizure in Augusta County's history; it was also its easiest. Deputies simply took a phone call last March notifying them that the drugs showed up at a factory just two miles from the sheriff's office. But since then, the case has been all frustration.
More than 80 bricks of high-quality, compressed marijuana, weighing 10 kilos each, have been waiting in Augusta County's evidence room, but no one has dared to step forward and claim this missing property.
"Well, I would think you lose over 1,800 pounds of dope, that's worth a minimum of $1,200 a pound, somebody's out of money somewhere," said Augusta County Sheriff Randy Fisher.
The accidental shipment showed up at the loading docks of American Safety Razor in Verona, tucked in with a legitimate shipment. Fisher says it may have been loaded at an ASR plant south of the border.
"We're certain that it came out of Mexico," he stated. "It came into Arizona, we know that. Where it was supposed to go from Arizona, we don't know."
Despite a three-month investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies do not know either. The marijuana was professionally packaged and boxed up with fake ASR logos and bar codes, but nothing about those methods helped lead to the source.
So with no criminal case to pursue, the sheriff tried to sell the weed for drug dog training. But there have been no takers.
"It does have a shelf life so to speak," Fisher said. "So we just can't let it sit here forever because it creates a hazard for my people being in a confined area."
So the marijuana will get safely smoked, by a special high-intensity incinerator at an undisclosed location.
"The people that are doing the incineration said it will not create a problem," said Fisher. "And they traditionally do this for other agencies."
The shipment had a street value well over $2 million, something the sheriff says his department will probably never see again.