State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 13884) – Felony Money Laundering ($14,000), Felony Transportation of Marijuana For Sale and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Reduced to Facilitation Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor with Probation and 2 Days in Jail – Navajo County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-00846).
A Sergeant with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office claimed that he was on the side of the road doing paperwork when he saw a car drive by with beads and a triangular air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. He claimed that it was obstructing the driver’s view, so he then followed and pulled over the driver and the two passengers. The Sheriff’s Sergeant claimed that he smelled marijuana, and then did a search, and found a backpack containing three jars of marijuana and a glass pipe. When the three co-defendants were questioned, they all began blaming each other. Eventually, a deal was struck where one of the co-defendants told the Sergeant that Mr. W was also driving a different car that contained marijuana and a large amount of cash. That co-defendant was then released from custody.
When Mr. W was driving down the road, another officer received a radio call asking to stop a car matching Mr. W’s description. Mr. W was stopped, he was not Mirandized, and a search took place of his vehicle. A container with green residue of marijuana was contained in his backpack, along with $14,000 in cash. Mr. W had a medical marijuana card from California and the amount of marijuana found was well within the legal amounts authorized by the AMMA. Once we became involved in the case, we were able to show the Prosecutor that the stop was very questionable. After interviewing the arresting Officer, he could not even remember whether he saw any driving violations or why he was instructed to stop Mr. W. Because of the threat to file a Motion to Suppress All Evidence, the Prosecutor agreed to instead offer a Facilitation plea to a Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor Distribution with only two days in jail. Mr. W was even allowed to do the jail time in the state of Kansas (where he was from). Although he was initially facing a potential of 10 years or more in prison if convicted of all counts and sentenced to consecutive terms, he ended up ultimately completing probation and having only a misdemeanor on his record.