COVINA >> A minor hit-and-run traffic collision led Covina police to discover 120 pounds of marijuana inside a pickup truck being driven by a Mexican national Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
Saul Ernesto Chavez, 32, who told police he is from Tijuana, Mexico, was ultimately arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sales, transportation of marijuana, hit-and-run and driving without a license, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
He was involved in a minor crash with another motorist about 1:15 p.m. at Barranca Avenue and Rowland Street, Covina police Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz said. No one was injured in the crash, but one of the drivers — later identified as Chavez — ran from the crash scene.
Police set up a search perimeter and soon found Chavez hiding in a nearby backyard, Bobkiewicz said. After arresting Chavez on suspicion of hit-and-run, police searched the small pickup truck he had been driving.
In the covered bed of the pickup truck, police found six 20-pound bundles of marijuana, officials said. The pot had an estimated street value of $240,000.
Chavez did not cooperate with investigators, Bobkiewicz said.
According to booking records, he was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Covina Police Department.