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Driver of suspicious' load sought

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Sept. 27, 2001
A truck driver wanted for questioning in connection with the Wednesday discovery of roughly 700 pounds of marijuana is still at large, authorities said.
Sgt. Ronnie Carter, spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said the discovery was made after Trooper Harrison Cook noticed a suspicious 18-wheeler traveling north on Interstate 59 in Clarke County.
Harrison pulled the truck over shortly before 2 p.m. When the driver returned to the cab of his truck to retrieve keys to the trailer, he fled into some nearby woods.
Cook notified the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, whose agents came to the scene with a drug dog.
Agents confiscated about 700 pounds of marijuana among with a load of watermelons the driver was transporting, Carter said. The truck was headed for New York, he said.
Carter said the Mississippi Highway Patrol has possession of the driver's 1998 Peterbuilt truck and his driver's license.
Two helicopters, one belonging to MBN and the other to the MHP, circled the area in search of 41-year-old Audley Needham of Coconut Creek, Fla.
The truck is registered to Needham, Carter said.
Anyone with information should call the Mississippi Highway Patrol at 693-1926, or CrimeStoppers at 917-8888 or 485-1860.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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