MERLIN, Ore. (KMSP) - A Shakopee, Minnesota man was busted in Oregon with 200 pounds of marijuana in a rental car.
A spokesman with the Oregon State Police told Fox 9 this arrest is actually part of a much bigger problem on the West Coast where it's legal to use marijuana for recreation.
29-year-old Pandy Hout of Shakopee and his friend 28-year-old Lor Meng of Sacramento, California were on their way back to Minnesota to make a lot of money selling 200 pounds of pot, according to state investigators in Oregon.
“You can purchase a pound of marijuana on the West Coast on the black market for around $500 and then sell it for two or three times that amount in the Midwest,” said Capt. Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Oregon State Police.
Fugate’s agency arrested the two men a week ago on Interstate 5 in Merlin, which is near Medford. Interstate 5 is apparently a major thoroughfare for drug traffickers.
“The investigation revealed that those two suspects had flown into the Medford airport, rented that car—went to California, purchased the marijuana and were driving it back through Oregon,” said Fugate.
Hout was behind the wheel and was pulled over for speeding. He and Meng were acting suspicious, which led to the troopers finding all the packaged-up pot.
The men were arrested on suspicion of transporting marijuana across state lines, possession and unlawful delivery of marijuana.
“The marijuana industry is supporting other industries such as cartels or heroin or meth—it’s all part of a larger criminal organization, so we take that seriously,” said Fugate.
Small amounts of marijuana are legal for recreational use in California, Washington and Oregon, but police are now stopping more people from across the country in what they call “bulk load” arrests.
“Oregon is a recreational state which means you can have some user amount of marijuana, but due to the amount of marijuana and across state lines that made it a felony,” he said.
Both men were released from jail in Oregon, but they are due back in court soon. Hout also has a lengthy criminal record according to the Shakopee Police Department.