By Patrick Yost
A man arrested on March 24 2018 by a city of Madison Police Department officer with more than 200 pounds of marijuana hidden in four duffle bags in the cab of his tractor-trailer vehicle was found guilty of trafficking in marijuana and sentenced to 30 years last week in Morgan County Superior Court.
After two days of hearing in which the defendant acted as his own attorney, a Morgan County jury returned a guilty verdict on charges of tar ricking in marijuana, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane against Quanitini Thomas, 43, Hattiesburg, ,Miss
Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Amanda Petty sentenced Thomas to 30 years with the first 15 years to be served in confinement in a state penitentiary and the remainder to be served on probation for trafficking in marijuana. Judge Petty also fined Thomas $100,000 on the trafficking charge. According to court documents, fines and fees in total on the charges are more than $186,000.
Judge Petty also sentenced Thomas to a year for reckless driving and failure to maintain lane to run concurrent with the 30 year sentence. Thomas was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeff Burkes.
Thomas’ arrest marked the largest drug seizure in the city of Madison. Reports state that the marijuana, all sealed in vacuum bags, was worth an estimated $300,000.
Thomas was stopped while driving the tractor trailer rig westbound on Interstate 20 after Morgan County Dispatch had received several complaints of a tractor trailer weaving and driving erratically. A Madison Police Department officer pulled in behind Thomas at the 113 exit and made a traffic stop at the 114 mile marker.
Published reports state that initially Thomas told the officer he was “tired.” The officer was going to release Thomas, however, he learned that Thomas had an outstanding warrant out of Villa Rica for failure to appear. The officer arrested Thomas and during an inventory of the tractor trailer prior to having it towed, law enforcement officers located an empty trailer that was being cooled. In the sleeper compartment officers found four duffle bags of marijuana packaged in approximately four pound bricks.