Months after two men were arrested for trying to transport large amounts of cannabis through Minnesota, a judge has set them free and dismissed the original charges.
At issue in the case was whether or not the search of the vehicle that initially led cops to discover the weed was legal. And on Tuesday, the judge hearing the case ruled that the cops’ search was unconstitutional.
Marijuana Bust in March
The whole thing started back in March of this year. That’s when state trooper Aaron Myren pulled over two men from Montana who were driving through Minnesota.
The men traveling inside the truck were identified as 31-year-old Jared Michael Desroches and 24-year-old Alexander Clifford Gordon.
According to Myren, he became suspicious because the two men were towing a camper trailer behind their truck. Myren claimed that it is unusual to see a camper during that time of the year. Additionally, Myren also claimed that the vehicle was swerving and driving unsteadily.
Finally, Myren decided to pull over the vehicle when he noticed a large crack in the windshield.
After Myren pulled them over, the two men reportedly said they had some marijuana in the vehicle with them. At that point, Myren and the police dog he had with him apparently began searching the vehicle and the trailer.
That’s when they discovered that the trailer was filled with weed. Specifically, the trailer contained 900 pounds of weed, 406 one-gram containers of concentrates, 112 containers of wax, and at least $15,000 in cash.
Myren arrested the men and seized the weed. The two men were initially charged with two counts of first-degree controlled substances sale.
Judge Rules Vehicle Search Was Unconstitutional
Now, months later, District Judge Timothy Churchwell has dismissed the charges.
He ruled that the vehicle search conducted by Myren was unconstitutional. As a result, it was illegal for cops to seize the marijuana, and without that, there is no evidence to bring against Desroches and Gordon.
Judge Churchwell explained that it was allowable for Myren to pull over the vehicle because of the cracked windshield. But beyond that, the judge said, Myren had no probable cause to conduct any searches of the men’s truck or camper trailer.
Interestingly, local media reported that Myren’s dashcam footage played a key role in the judge’s decision. Specifically, the footage threw much of Myren’s testimony into question.
For example, Myren claimed that it is unusual for campers to be on the road in March. However, footage from the incident showed a number of other camper trailers driving on the same road.
Similarly, Myren said that the men were driving erratically. But the footage showed that the men were driving just fine.
“The video played a huge role in us getting it tossed out because a lot of it didn’t match up to what [Myren] was saying,” the defendants’ lawyer Paul Applebaum told local media.
And as for the claim that the men were driving erratically, Applebaum explained: “The squad video, which essentially records from the same vantage point as Myren’s, shows that the pickup never crossed the fog-line—it merely touched it once for a fraction of a second and proceeded flawlessly for a substantial distance before Myren pulled it over.”