A 38-year-old Snellville woman caught transporting approximately 20 pounds of marijuana along I-20 last February was sentenced to 20 years and fined $100,000 dollars following her conviction last week, according to Douglas County District Attorney David McDade.
Chief Superior Court Judge Robert J. James imposed Frankie Leshawn Benton’s 20-year sentence after the defendant was found guilty of Trafficking in Marijuana in a bench trial. Benton is required to serve the first seven years of her 20-year sentence in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Kegley pointed out at trial that the drug discovery was made during a traffic stop on February 1, 2012, near the Post Road exit. Felony Interception and Narcotic Detection Unit (FIND) Officer Adam Haney told the court he initially pulled the defendant over for following too closely. During Haney’s initial conversation with Benton, the officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The officer’s suspicions were confirmed moments later when a police canine alerted to drugs being present in the defendant’s Dodge SUV.
Instead of cooperating with the search, Benton locked all four doors and stuffed the key inside her shirt. Once all the doors were unlocked with a slim jim, officers found a cardboard box containing the marijuana. Benton admitted afterwards she was being paid $500 to transport the large amount of marijuana from DeKalb County to Villa Rica.