Have you ever been pulled over with a bit of pot on you? You figure, it’s just a little if I give it to the cops, maybe they’ll just throw it out and let me go. Well, not if “just a little” ends up being 3,100 pounds of pot in a truck crossing state lines. A couple of full-grown men had to learn things the hard way this past weekend.
The way the Mesa County sheriff’s patrol deputy was tipped off was by the smell. Apparently, it was so dank that a K9 unit was unnecessary. In fact, the bust was made using nothing but his nose.
On Saturday afternoon, the sheriff’s deputy was driving south on 29 Road in Fruitvale with his windows down. That’s when he noticed a funky smell. The only thing that had changed during his drive was that he pulled up behind a white Penske moving truck with Indiana plates.
After pulling the truck over for a speeding violation, the deputy stepped up to the truck. He smelled what could only be described as an “overwhelming” cannabis odor. Naturally, the first question he asked driver Sinh Chan Hoang, a 53-year-old Mandarin speaker and California native, was if there was any weed in the truck.
3,100 Pounds Of Pot Or “Just A Little?”
“Yes,” Hoang responded, according to the deputy’s report. “Just a little.”
When he admitted to having pot the deputy asked if he could see. Hoang agreed and opened the overhead door of the truck. He pulled out a large black plastic trash bag. Then, he poked a hole in it and pulled out some of the buds inside.
“It’s just a little bit,” Hoang said again, according to the arrest affidavit. “I can throw it out.”
However, he would need ample time and help to finish the task. After searching the truck, deputies discovered 3,100 pounds of pot—which was more than they’d ever laid eyes on.
Even in Colorado, where weed is legal, the smell of weed isn’t overlooked by the police, especially while driving. According to the sheriff department’s spokeswoman Megan Terlecky, nobody in the Mesa County sheriff’s department could remember a larger product seizure.
Where Was It Going?
The truck had a rental agreement that said it was rented at approximately 11:53 a.m. on Friday in Pleasant View, Indiana. The arrest happened in Mesa County, Colorado on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Since the weed was already in the truck and the driver lives in California, it was assumed that the weed was going from California back to where the truck was rented.
In the state of Indiana, possession of any amount of marijuana is a crime punishable by at least a misdemeanor. Trafficking 3,100 pounds of pot worth over a million dollars in street value is a whole different story.
Hoang and the other man in the car, Larry Tran, have a lot to learn about hiding the smell of weed. The Mesa County Court is making sure they aren’t let off easy.
In fact, the judge denied their lawyer’s request for a recognizance bond, despite Tran’s clean record. Both the driver and his passenger had their bonds set at $100,000, cash-only. Looks like some folks in Indiana may need a new plug.
Two traffickers were arrested, but that is only a minor win in the War on Drugs. It’s like plugging a leaky dam with scotch tape. You’re not going to stop it. As long as cannabis is federally illegal, interstate trafficking will continue.