"Right now we are trying to determine where these items came from," Sheriff Mike Heaton said, adding that the merchandise was marked with price tags and inventory markings like a gas station or convenience mart would use. "Wherever these items came from, the management should be able to identify the merchandise as their own."
Officials are withholding certain details to uphold the integrity of the investigation, but some general information was made available to The Brazil Times.
According to Heaton, shortly after 3:30 a.m., Deputy Jerry Siddons was on patrol as part of Operation Pullover when he stopped a suspicious driver on State Road 59, near the Clay County Fairgrounds.
While talking to the unidentified driver, Siddons determined the suspect was in violation of several traffic codes and took the suspect into custody.
During a search of the vehicle, the officer discovered a large amount of cigarette products in the vehicle that could not be accounted for by the suspect.
The suspect was taken to the Clay County Justice Center for questioning
As the evidence was being processed Thursday, officers counted 106 cartons of various brands of cigarettes, approximately 200-300 individual cigarette packages and other miscellaneous items.
Heaton said the merchandise would be held until legal proceedings were completed and then returned to the rightful owner.
Because no burglary or theft has been reported within Clay County with this type of merchandise reported missing, Heaton confirmed that surrounding county law enforcement agencies have been contacted to see if a burglary has occurred in another jurisdiction that matches the evidence list.