The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

January 10, 2013

Pot charge dropped against Arlington man

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — He probably should have stayed in Arlington.

A Tarrant County man won’t face prosecution in Hunt County for allegedly driving an 18-wheeler filled with marijuana across the country more than five years ago.

That is because Abel Torres of Arlington is currently serving a prison sentence after being convicted of murder in Georgia.

Torres was indicted in December 2007 and had pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of between 500 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana, but never had a trial date set as he had been jailed in Georgia on multiple felony charges.

During a hearing Wednesday in the 354th District Court, Assistant Hunt County District Attorney Lauren Hudgeons filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Torres, noting he had been convicted August 31, 2011 in Newton County, Ga. on one count of murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Judge Richard A. Beacom accepted the motion and the charge was dismissed.

Torres was accused of driving a trailer containing more than a half-ton of marijuana, which was stopped in Hunt County by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Trooper J. E. Simpson performed a routine traffic stop on the tractor trailer, due to a defective tire and for a lack of a right rear mud flap, shortly after 2 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2007. Torres, who was driving with his wife and child as passengers, reportedly gave officers permission to search the truck.

Inside, officers allegedly found three pallets and several boxes, with 87 bundles of marijuana, which weighed-in at 1,222 pounds.

Torres was arrested and booked into the Hunt County Jail on the second degree felony, which carried a maximum sentence upon conviction of from two to 20 years in prison.

The Department of Public Safety said the truck was en route from California to New Jersey, noting how at that time the estimated street value of the marijuana in New Jersey would have come to about $1.2 million.