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Woman arrested, accused of transported 75 pounds of marijuana with daughter in vehicle

Julia Ortiz, 49, was arrested Nov. 30 in Canadian County on complaints of trafficking marijuana and child neglect.(Canadian County Sheriff's Office)

An Arkansas woman was arrested in Canadian County after authorities say she was transported a large quantity of marijuana with her daughter in the vehicle.

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West says that on Nov. 30 a deputy stopped a vehicle for multiple traffic violations along I-40 near the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

The deputy made contact with the driver, 49-year-old Julia Ortiz of Springdale, Arkansas, who reportedly stated she was traveling home with her daughter after visiting her sick mother in California.

West says the deputy became suspicious of the woman's timeline which would have led to her only being in California for a few hours before driving the 20 hours home.

“My deputies didn’t believe Ortiz because it’s not reasonable for someone to travel halfway across the country to see their sick mother, and turn around and head home after only a few hours. I believe most people would stay for a few days at the least, after having driven straight through for over 20 hours,” West said.

West said the suspicious story the deputy heard led him to search the car.

"They give us stories that don't make any sense because they're lies. They know exactly what they're doing. But a lot of times if you can get hard evidence out of the vehicle, receipts it substantiates what we suspect."

In the trunk, he found two duffel bags full of almost 75 pounds of marijuana worth about $175,000. West said the marijuana is a high-grade form called "hydro."

"$170,000-$180,000 worth of product is something to be proud of that we took it off the streets and made an arrest," West said. "Hopefully we can work it a little better and get some of the other people that are involved in it on the other ends."

Ortiz was booked into the Canadian County Jail on complaints of trafficking marijuana and child neglect. She has since bonded out of jail. Her daughter was taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services.

West said this is a reminder there could be more to it if someone is driving unsafely.

"I'm really proud of my deputy for looking beyond the traffic stop," West said. "Instead of just saying she's speeding or changing lanes unsafely, he asked a few more questions that led to this arrest."

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