State v. Ms. H (DMC No. 13022) – Felony Money Laundering ($162,622), Felony Possession of Marijuana and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Reduced to Solicitation and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, both Class 6 Open/Misdemeanors with Probation and Zero Days in Jail – Yavapai County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-00506).
Ms. H was riding as a passenger in her husband’s truck along the I-40 when they were observed by a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Deputy. The deputy stated that the truck’s temporary license plate was flopping up and down, and that several items that were on the dashboard and the windshield of the truck were causing an obstructed view. Based upon this very questionable observation, the officer stopped Ms. H and her husband. When stopped, Ms. H’s husband stated that he borrowed the truck from a friend. The officer then claimed he smelled an odor of marijuana.
Ms. H’s husband said they were traveling from Kansas to Las Vegas, and when asked about the marijuana, he said he had an eighth of an ounce and a medical marijuana card. It was then discovered that he had an extraditable felony warrant out of Maricopa County for Possession of Marijuana and he was placed under arrest. The officer then began to question Ms. H and search the vehicle.
Discovered inside the vehicle, was three jars filled with marijuana that totaled 3.3 ounces. In addition, there was a purse which contained $75,000 in cash; a backpack which contained $86,000 in cash; and Ms. H’s purse which contained $37,000 in cash. This totaled $162,000. Ms. H and her husband were placed under arrest, and their 5-year old and 10-month old children were turned over to DCS workers
During questioning, Ms. H’s husband said that he was the one selling marijuana, and that his wife had no knowledge. Ms. H admitted to knowing there was marijuana in the bag and that she knew she had $37,000 in her purse. We were able to argue that the stop was a pretext stop (most likely as a result of a confidential informant), and that due to the fact English was a second language, her interrogation could have been misconstrued, plus the fact that her husband had stated that she had no knowledge. Because of all of this, we were able to secure a plea to 1 Count of Facilitation to Commit Money Laundering and 1 Count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, both as Class 6 Open/Misdemeanors. This included Probation with zero days in jail. Also included was an agreement to forfeit the $162,000 and the 2012 Chevy Silverado which they were driving at the time. Originally Ms. H was facing well over a decade in prison if convicted of all charges and sentenced to the maximum, instead she successfully completed probation and only has a misdemeanor on her record.