Charges dismissed against Montana men after massive pot bust on I-94

Charges dismissed against Montana men after massive pot bust on I-94 Photo: KSTP

Updated: October 10, 2019 03:04 PM

Charges brought against two Montana men after a large pot bust on Interstate 94 northwest of Alexandria this spring have been dismissed.

Court documents confirm two controlled substance charges against both Jared Michael Desroches, 30, of Missoula, Montana, and Alexander Clifford Gordon, 25, of Helena, Montana, were dismissed Tuesday.

According to court documents, the two men were traveling on I-94 near the Brandon exit at about 1:55 p.m. on March 2 when they passed a Minnesota State Trooper. The trooper saw their white Chevrolet pickup truck pulling a slide-in camper, and noticed a large horizontal crack in the truck's front windshield. The trooper caught up to the vehicle and pulled it over.

After stopping the vehicle and identifying Desroches as the driver, the trooper asked for proof of insurance, which Desroches didn't immediately produce, according to the document. Desroches then explained the men were on their way from Missoula, Montana, to Minneapolis. The document says the trooper then asked Desroches to exit the truck and began questioning him about his travels. Desroches pulled up his proof of insurance on his cellphone, but the trooper told him to sit in his patrol vehicle.

The document says the trooper continued questioning Desroches about his travels and asked about whether there were drugs in the camper and if he could search it. Desroches declined the search but after stating there weren't any drugs he said their might be marijuana as he had a medical marijuana card from Montana. However, the trooper got his K9 to sniff the camper, and the K9 alerted on the camper.

When the trooper then searched the camper, he found 900 pounds of marijuana, 406 one-gram packages of THC concentrate, 112 glass jars of THC wax and $15,500 in cash.

However, the men argued the search of the camper was an expansion on the original reason the trooper stopped them, and that the trooper didn't have any lawful reason or suspicion to search the camper.

The court agreed with the men, stating the crack in the truck's windshield didn't affect the driver's line of sight, as its highest point was slightly above the driver's side windshield wiper, the order for dismissal states. The court ruled there was no objective basis for removing the driver from the vehicle or for detaining the men, and nothing else before Desroches was told to exit the vehicle was indicative of criminal or suspicious activity. Therefore, the court ruled everything else was after the trooper expanded the stop, and ruled the seizure of the marijuana, THC concentrate, THC wax and cash as improper, granting the men's motion to supress the evidence. Without the drugs as evidence, the charges were dismissed.

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