Earlier this week, Indiana State Police officers stumbled across a car loaded with bags of weed. With this traffic stop leading to a bust of nearly 80 pounds of weed, questions remain about where the weed came from and where exactly it was going.
A Routine Traffic Stop
As reported by local Indiana news station Fox 59, the incident began earlier today when officers pulled over a 2017 Ford Expedition around 11 a.m. Officers said the vehicle was swerving and going outside traffic lanes. After seeing the erratic driving, officers pulled the car over just outside of Greenfield, Indiana.
From there, what initially appeared to be a routine traffic stop took an unexpected turn. At some point, after officers approached the vehicle, they discovered that the entire SUV was packed full of cannabis.
They subsequently seized what sources said was 78 pounds of marijuana. Authorities said the weed was worth $250,000 on the illegal market.
Early reports indicated that authorities are still investigating the incident. So far, it appears that formal charges have not been brought against those in the car. But troopers said they were working with the Hancock County Jail to determine how to handle the case.
While there have not been a lot of details revealed so far, sources did report that the driver of the vehicle was a 51-year-old man from Elbert, Colorado named Christian Elie. The passenger was 42-year-old Austin Johnson, who reportedly lives in Indianapolis.
Final Hit: Traffic Stop Leads to Bust of Nearly 80 Pounds of Weed
With details still pending completion of the ongoing investigation, it is unclear if the weed originated in Colorado, where Elie is apparently a resident.
This could potentially be an important part of the case, as there has long been concern that legal weed in states like Colorado may find its way onto the illegal market in other states.
In fact, a few years ago the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma—both of which share borders with Colorado—sued The Centennial State. In the suit, Nebraska and Oklahoma claimed that weed was illegally pouring over the border into their states. As a result, they claimed that all the illegal weed coming out of Colorado was placing a strain on their law enforcement resources.
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the suit and it was thrown out. Nonetheless, concerns persist over where Colorado’s legal weed actually ends up. And there are, in fact, many cases in which cannabis does flow out of weed-legal states into other states where it remains illegal.
That’s exactly what happened last year when authorities busted a huge cannabis trafficking ring based in Colorado. Last July, a grand jury in Denver indicted 62 people and 12 businesses in the scheme.
Reportedly, those involved in the ring were growing tons of cannabis under the guise of producing it for medical marijuana patients. But instead of keeping it in Colorado’s legal market, they were apparently shipping it all over the country. The case was the largest one of its kind since recreational weed became legal in Colorado in 2012.