Clockwise from top left: Austin Jade, John David Hoyt, Christian Hun Kim and Christopher Mundell
GATE CITY — Four men have been arrested in Scott County after 30 pounds of synthetic marijuana, over 200 grams of bath salts and a handgun were allegedly found in their vehicle during a traffic stop.
The Scott County Sheriff's Office said Christopher Mundell, 23; Austin Jade, 22; John David Hoyt, 21 — all of Palatka, Fla. — and Christian Hun Kim, 20, of Winchester, Va., were arrested Saturday morning and charged with possession of Schedule I drugs with intent to distribute. Jade was also charged with possession of a firearm while in possession of Schedule I drugs.
Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said the men were transporting the synthetic narcotics from Florida to Virginia to sell them when the arrests were made.
"We think this is going to some of the counties who haven't cracked down on it yet," Puckett said. "We've cracked down on it and closed the shops we know of around here. But, some counties haven't done as much yet and they're going to counties like that."
Puckett declined to comment further on their alleged activities due to the ongoing investigation.
According to police reports, the four men were traveling northbound on Highway 72 in a 2002 Cadillac Escalade when they were pulled over near Fort Blackmore for reckless driving by a Scott County deputy.
The stop was made around 1:10 a.m. Saturday morning, Puckett said.
Shortly after pulling the SUV over, a Gate City Police Department's K9 unit called to the scene reportedly alerted officers to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle.
After being given consent to search the vehicle, authorities allegedly found 30 pounds of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, and what is believed to be over 200 grams of bath salts inside.
Authorities also reportedly found a large-caliber handgun in Jade's possession during the search.
The find, Puckett said, was one of the largest made in Scott County since synthetic narcotics were declared illegal in March 2011.
"Our officer did an excellent job, and I appreciate what they're doing to get this off the streets," Puckett said. "We're trying to get this off the streets, but there's still a lot more to go. We've had to send people to Marion because they're losing their minds with it, and getting it off the street might help save a life, or keep someone from loosing their mind."
Puckett said the bath salts have been sent to a state police forensic lab for analysis.
As a result of the discovery, all four men were taken into custody before being transported to the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.
Jail records show that Mundell, Hoyt and Hun Kim were released later Saturday after each posted a secured bond of $3,5000. Jade was released on a $6,000 secured bond.
Puckett said the Cadillac Escalade used to transport the drugs, which was registered to mother of one of the arrested men, was confiscated by the sheriff's office.