MONTGOMERY COUNTY – On the evening of July 6, officers found a broken down tractor trailer impeding traffic in the main lanes of the 23200 block of the Eastex Freeway in Kingwood near Northpark Drive, which led to the discovery of over a ton of marijuana and a first-degree felony arrest.
Ronnie Earl Ricks
Ronnie Earl Ricks, 60, of Pasadena is charged with first-degree felony Possession of Marijuana. The charge carries a possible sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison. Ricks remains in the Montgomery County Jail with bond set at $250,000.
Members of the Montgomery County Pct. 4 Constable’s Office, including Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, discovered the contraband hidden in the trailer of the truck amidst cases of produce bound for New Jersey. The marijuana totaled 2,430 pounds and was divided into 101 tightly bound bundles. It was unclear whether the marijuana was intended to reach the east coast, but it would be the most profitable option, since it sells for roughly three times as much as in Border States such as Texas.
Left to right; Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth Hayden, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon
According to Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, who also responded to the scene Wednesday evening, the initial investigation revealed the truck was loaded near the Mexican border and went through a checkpoint. Investigating officers are in contact with officials in both locations and plan to travel to that area for further investigation next week. Ligon said he anticipates bringing several people before the grand jury soon.
Constable Hayden and Mr. Ligon believe Ricks knew the marijuana was part of the load.
“We’re fairly confident (Ricks) knew what was in the trailer,” Constable Hayden said. “In addition to the standard protocol of driver’s inspecting their new loads, he aroused the first officer’s suspicion because his story was inconsistent with his log book.”
Ligon said the discovery was made and the marijuana was stopped from reaching its destination through “good old fashioned policing.”
Constable Hayden said it is important to remember that the marijuana would have reached its destination, been broken down and bundled into smaller packages to be redistributed throughout neighborhoods somewhere.
“It may not have been in Montgomery County, but it would’ve ended up the hands of someone’s children,” he said.
To those who criticize marijuana related arrests and prosecutions, the District Attorney has a message.
“There’s a quote that says you can feel free to dislike the law, but you’re not free to disobey the law,” Ligon said. “My job and Mr. Hayden’s job is to enforce the laws of this great state.”
“It was Montgomery County’s good fortune to keep this load of poison from heading north.”
Note: The Constable’s Office received numerous calls regarding donations or sale of the produce involved, but it will be returned to its rightful owner.