Driver arrested with 11 pounds of marijuana during traffic stop on Colorado’s Interstate 70

The Summit County Sheriff's Office arrested the California man after he reportedly allowed law enforcement to search his vehicle

A Summit County Sheriff's Office vehicle is parked in Dillon on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrested a California man earlier this month after a deputy found 11 pounds of marijuana in the man’s vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 70 near Silverthorne, according to court documents.

The 41-year-old man was arrested for allegedly possessing with intent to distribute more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana, a Class 2 drug felony, in violation of Colorado’s offenses relating to marijuana, court documents state.

During a routine patrol on I-70, a sheriff’s deputy observed a white Ford Expedition that slowed significantly after it drove past the law enforcement vehicle, a warrantless arrest probable cause statement filed in Summit County court states.

The deputy caught up to the vehicle, which was driving between 50 and 55 mph in the 65 mph zone, but the deputy did not observe any traffic infractions at first, according to the probable cause statement.

Just as the deputy made the decision to stop following the vehicle, it crossed over the dotted line between the lanes twice and then changed lanes without a turn signal, the court documents state.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop at the chain up area at mile marker 205, approached the driver and collected his drivers license and registration, according to the probable cause statement.

While collecting his documents, the deputy observed multiple air fresheners in the vehicle and a large trash bag on the floor in the back of the vehicle, the court documents state. The deputy reportedly asked the driver to come back to her patrol vehicle.

The driver told the deputy that he was headed to Castle Rock for two weeks to visit family and had left Santa Maria, California, a day earlier, according to the probable cause statement. The deputy detected a strong odor of marijuana on the man but did not notice any impairments, the court documents state.

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The deputy reportedly issued and explained a written warning to the driver for his actions on the road, before asking him if she could continue asking questions. When the man responded, “yes,” the deputy asked if he had anything illegal in his vehicle such as large amounts of marijuana, according to the probable cause statement.

The man told the deputy there were not large amounts of marijuana or any other drugs in the vehicle and allowed the deputy to search the vehicle, the court documents state. Upon entering the car, the deputy reportedly discovered 11 bags of suspected marijuana in a trash bag in the back seat.

The deputy arrested the man who then apologized and said he was coming from California to Castle Rock to deliver the marijuana, court documents state. But the deputy noted in the probable cause statement that “as marijuana is legal in Colorado,” she did not believe the man was being truthful about his destination.

The marijuana reportedly weighed just over 11 pounds. The man was transported to the Summit County jail, where he was booked on the felony drug charge and held on a $15,000 bond, according to court documents.

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