RAY BROOK -- State Police said Tuesday that the 155 pounds of marijuana discovered in a routine traffic check in Tupper Lake likely came from a professional drug operation.

Vacuum-sealed in one-pound bags -- 1551„2 of them, to be exact -- the marijuana filled seven television-sized boxes in the State Police conference room in Ray Brook.

Lt. Charles Pothast said the amount and manner of packaging "indicates this is from somebody in the marijuana business."

Historically, he said, "we've seen a huge distribution of hydroponic marijuana coming from Canada."

Police would not reveal specifics of an ongoing investigation but said they expect to make additional arrests in the case.

They estimated the street value of the confiscated drug to be near $300,000.

It was found Sunday in a white Yukon SUV registered in Hogansburg and driven by Laurie A. Albany, 42, of Kahnawake, Quebec.

At about 12:57 a.m., two state troopers pulled over to check on the vehicle, which was stopped in a parking area on Route 30 alongside Tupper Lake.

Albany was asleep in the vehicle, Pothast said.

The officers investigated further when the heavy smell of marijuana raised suspicion.

The uniformly packaged, one-pound bags were stuffed into black duffle bags and secreted in the passenger compartment, Pothast said.

Albany was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license.

She was arraigned before Tupper Lake Town Justice Leonard Young III and taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.

Albany remains in jail, according to Troop B Major Richard C. Smith.

Police did not specify what direction the SUV was heading at the time of arrest, presumably south.

They also did not speak to the question of specifically where it came from.

But they did say they have made some major drug seizures along Route 30 in the past.

The Sunday bust was one of the bigger loads confiscated "in a while," Pothast said.

Albany was the only person in the vehicle and was not armed, Maj. Smith said.

All 155-plus bags contained what State Police called high-quality "buds" -- the tops of marijuana plants, which contain the most THC, the drug in the plant.

"It is a high-demand type of marijuana," Pothast said.

Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain said the confiscated bags would be brought to the state crime lab for chemical and weight analysis.

Pothast also commended the Tupper Lake Police Department for backing up the state troopers during the arrest.

kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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