Two OC Pot Smugglers Busted in Illinois With 16 Pounds of Weed

Interstate 80 is a convenient highway to take if you're traveling from Northern California to the East Coast and are in a relative hurry. Because it begins in San Francisco, the nearest off-loading point to the storied Emerald Triangle, America's marijuana breadbasket comprising of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties, it also has the reputation of being the biggest cross-country pot pipeline in the United States.

That reputation just got a boost from the news that two Orange County men were sentenced this week for pot smuggling, a case that resulted from their Dec. 4 2012 arrest in along I-80 in by highway patrol officers in Illinois. The suspects were driving their rented U-Haul truck eastbound when they were pulled over for a traffic violation. A subsequent search of their vehicle by a drug-sniffing dog turned up numerous packages said to contain 16 pounds of weed.

The suspects are Christopher P. Henderson, 26, from Huntington Beach, and Stefano Caruso, 25, of Costa Mesa. After entering guilty pleas on April 19, they were sentenced to serve six years in an Illinois state prison. However, because of the nature of their non-violent, drug-related offense, both men are eligible to enroll in the state correctional department's Impact Incarceration Program, a six-month bootcamp style program.

Assuming they are accepted into the program and successfully complete it, they will be released early. However, if they fail to gain admission or don't graduate, they'll have to serve their complete sentence behind bars.

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