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Posts tagged: marijuana

Federal lawsuit charges ISP targeted innocent traveler with Colo. plates for unwarranted drug search

A federal lawsuit against the Idaho State Police charges that officers profiled, pulled over, harassed, detained and searched a Washington man simply for driving across the Oregon line into Idaho on the freeway – because he had Colorado plates. Officers insisted the man must be carrying marijuana, but extensive searches of his vehicle found nothing illegal. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Darien Roseen, a retired executive who was on the way home from his daughter's baby shower in Washington to his second residence in Colorado, was targeted within the first mile he drove into Idaho by ISP Trooper Justin Klitch, according to the lawsuit, who pursued him as Roseen pulled into the “Welcome to Idaho” rest area, refused to allow him to use the bathroom, and began badgering him to consent to a search of his vehicle – which Roseen refused. This happened just before noon on Jan. 25.

By the time the incident was over, Klitch had called in additional officers, detained Roseen in a patrol car, had an officer drive Roseen’s truck – without his permission – to the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, where it was further searched, and held Roseen up for hours. The lawsuit, which names the ISP, the Fruitland Police Department, the Payette County Sheriff’s Department, and the numerous officers involved, alleges violations of the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution regarding illegal search and seizure, along with discriminatory and selective treatment by profiling, violating the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment and Roseen’s right to interstate travel.

“Trooper Klitch profiled, followed, and pulled over the vehicle driven by Mr. Roseen because it had Colorado license plates,” the lawsuit states. “Upon learning that Mr. Roseen came from Washington, Trooper Klitch further profiled Mr. Roseen. Trooper Klitch assumed and alleged that Mr. Roseen was a person who was transporting marijuana based on his states of residence.”

Both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana; Idaho has not. And the ISP has been reporting numerous big marijuana busts in recent months along I-84, a main route of travel between the states. Click below for a full report from the Denver Post via the Associated Press; you can read the lawsuit complaint here. The Post reported that Idaho State Police would not comment over the weekend, but planned to issue a statement on the litigation later this week.

Annual DEA flight spots 3,300 marijuana plants in Sawtooth National Forest

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — Law enforcement officers in south-central Idaho seized 3,300 marijuana plants from a grow site in the Sawtooth National Forest. Cassia County Sheriff Jay Heward says the street value of the plants was estimated at $6.6 million. Forty-six people helped pull up the plants Thursday and load them onto large nets that were carried out by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter. Heward says the DEA was flying an annual mission to locate marijuana plants when it discovered the grow site. The sheriff says the investigation continues, but persons of interest have been identified.

Bus passenger smelled like marijuana, drug dog finds $27K worth in his luggage

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — Authorities in south-central Idaho say a drug-sniffing dog found $27,000 worth of Marijuana on a passenger bus at a stop in Burley. The Cassia County Sheriff's Office tells The Times-News (http://bit.ly/11YByje) that Kuma found the nearly six pounds of marijuana in luggage on Wednesday. Police say 24-year-old Romal Khair was taken into custody and faces charges of felony drug trafficking. Police say they responded to the Greyhound Lines bus stop on West Main Street in Burley after receiving a complaint that a passenger smelled like marijuana.

TimesNews: Blaine GOP urges marijuana legalization

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The Blaine County Republican Central Committee has passed a resolution supporting the legalization of marijuana in Idaho. The committee approved the resolution 6-2 earlier this week. Committee member Mike Connor told the Times-News (http://bit.ly/VivjVI ) the resolution is not an endorsement for doing drugs, but an acknowledgement that the War on Drugs is costly and producing few results. It's a rare stance for any committee affiliated with Idaho's dominant political party, and Connor admits the resolution is not likely to gain much political momentum. Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Joshua Whitworth says county central committees pass resolutions frequently, but this is the first one he's seen take a stance to legalize marijuana. Last year, former Republican Rep. Tom Trail of Moscow failed to get a bill approved to legalize medical marijuana.

Big drug raids target ‘spice’ sellers, marijuana growers in cornfield

Idaho has seen two major drug raids in the last 24 hours, as federal authorities raided 11 locations in Twin Falls County in a crackdown on selling “spice,” or synthetic marijuana; and Idaho State Police detectives, along with aerial support, raided 12 marijuana grow sites in a Gooding County cornfield, pulling 3,684 marijuana plants that ISP said have an estimated street value of more than $7 million.

The ISP received an anonymous tip last night, prompting the cornfield raid; they're asking anyone with information to call  a tip hotline at (800) 524-7277.

The spice raids, which were preceded by five indictments for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, were part of a nationwide spice crackdown and targeted businesses including a Twin Falls auto sales lot, a skate shop, a tattoo and body piercing shop and more. The defendants, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison. Click below for a full announcement from Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson; the raid is part of a national push that earlier targeted 13 head shops in the Treasure Valley, in which nine were found to be openly selling spice.

Said Olson, “This week's law enforcement actions should send a strong message that if you're selling spice under any name or packaging you need to stop.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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