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Woman arrested with more than 200 lbs. of marijuana after running out of gas on I-55 bridge

A 54-year-old woman, whose last known address is in Seattle, drove a rental car full of drugs and cash when she ran out of gas on the Memphis bridge.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman is in the Shelby County Jail after she was caught transporting more than 200 lbs. of marijuana, and nearly $18,000 in cash, across the I-55 bridge going into Memphis Sunday.

According to Memphis Police, 54-year-old Catherine Mardesich was driving a Hertz rental SUV with California license plates when she ran out of gas on the bridge. Another vehicle then rear-ended her, prompting a police response. 

An Arkansas State Police officer first responded to the scene, which had moved off the bridge by then, and while attempting to inventory the SUV, was stopped by Mardesich, saying she didn't want him going through the vehicle. 

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The officer, acting on state policy, proceeded with the inspection and noticed a "strong odor" of marijuana. The officer then arrested Mardesich, whose last known address is in Seattle, and found five large cardboard boxes full of a "green, leafy substance" vaccum-sealed in plastic, as well as a smaller box and duffel bag full of the same. 

Officers observed some of the boxes had a label that said "contains cannabis."

Credit: Memphis Police
The back of Mardesich's SUV, full of boxes of marijuana.

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In total, police said 229 lbs. of marijuana was seized, as well as $17,800 in cash. 

Mardesich is currently being held without bond on one count of felony drug possession with intent to distribute, and is awaiting her first arraignment hearing set for Tuesday. 

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