published Saturday, November 13th, 2010

$100,000 in drugs found during traffic stop

The Tunnel Hill Police Department seized 20 pounds of a designer drug Thursday in a traffic stop on Interstate 75, according to Police Chief Roy Brunson.

Three vacuum sealed bags of Trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine, TFMPP, were found after a drug dog alerted officers to the vehicle, Brunson said. The street value of the drugs was about $100,000, he said.

"This is a new, stronger version of Ecstasy," Brunson said. "It's the first time we've encountered this drug here."

Nua Berishaj was arrested and charged with trafficking synthetic drugs and is being held without bond at the Whitfield County Jail, police said.

Berishaj was pulled over during a traffic stop and told the officer he was traveling from Michigan to Florida, Brunson said.

When the officer asked Berishaj if he could search the car, he refused. Brunson said the department drug dog "Vinnie" noted the odor of narcotics in the vehicle, giving officers probable cause to search. Officers found the pills inside a blue duffel bag.

Brunson said he could not identify the officer, who is part of the department's drug interdiction unit, nor could he discuss what made the officer suspicious of Berishaj.

"There were several things the officer picked up on," Brunson said. "He goes to a school to know what to look for."

According to a news release from the Tunnel Hill Police Department, "the officer received numerous indicators from the driver."

Brunson said TFMPP has similar effects to Ecstasy and is often marketed to high school and college students. When taken in larger doses it can cause hallucinogenic effects, he said.

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