A West Deer man faces drug charges after Frazer police said they found more than 1,000 highly potent THC cartridges with an estimated street value of nearly $62,000 in the back seat of his car during a traffic stop Monday afternoon.
Police stopped a car driven by Adam Stephen Viale, 24, about 2:20 p.m. after officers observed him driving erratically along Butler Logan Road near Crawford Run Road, Frazer police Chief Terry Kuhns said.
“As a result of the stop, we did a field sobriety test, which he failed,” Kuhns said. “And then, while investigating, we looked in the back seat.”
The chief said he and Officer Dalton Vanwhy found 1,029 cartridges of THC, the most psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The 1-gram vials of cannabis had a THC potency of about 95% and a street value of $61,740, according to Kuhns.
“Leaf marijuana has a THC content of 20% to 25% for quality marijuana,” he said.
The impact on the driver from THC “can’t be compared to someone smoking marijuana,” he said.
Kuhns said Frazer police are encountering one to two small arrests involving THC each week.
In February, Westmoreland County detectives accused Nickolas Boyd Hobaugh, 28, of Hempfield of having more than 55 pounds of marijuana and 2,200 vape pens that contain THC. The case remains pending.
State troopers from Butler, Kittanning, New Castle and Mercer are seeing people who appear to be driving and using THC.
“We are finding people operating vehicles at all hours of the day while under the influence of the active ingredient of marijuana, THC. In addition to dried leaf marijuana, we find people with vaping devices with marijuana vials. We find marijuana wax. We find all forms of THC,” said Troop D Commander Capt. Steve J. Ignatz.
He said troopers also have found people mixing marijuana with other drugs such as crack cocaine.
“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a combination, presents a terrible danger to the motoring public,” he said.
Viale was arrested and taken to Allegheny County Jail for arraignment.
He faces charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver as well as driving under the influence.
An Allegheny County night court judge held a preliminary arraignment for Viale on Tuesday and released him on $5,000 unsecured bond pending a preliminary hearing.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .