3 arrested following Worthington traffic stop
Three men have been charged with felonies following an Oct. 1 traffic stop in Worthington.
WORTHINGTON — Three men have been charged with felonies following an Oct. 1 traffic stop in Worthington.
An officer of the Worthington Police Department conducted the traffic stop after reportedly observing a vehicle traveling near the Diagonal Road and Oxford Street intersection veer towards and then out of the center lane. The vehicle was also reportedly traveling very close to the vehicle in front of it.
After pulling over, the driver was identified as Jeffrey Ray Chantharath, 34, of Worthington. Khamphone Thammalong, 33, and Vanny Meuangkhoth, 36, both Worthington residents, were also in the vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint, Chantharath’s hands were shaking as he was providing the officer with his driver’s license information, and his cheek muscles and right eye were twitching almost constantly.
Chantharath was asked to exit the vehicle and perform field-sobriety testing during which time he stated that he had not consumed any alcohol since Christmas 2021, and had not used illegal drugs since 2019. After field-sobriety testing, the officer reported that Chantharath appeared to be driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.
A search warrant was later obtained for Chantharath’s blood or urine, and a sample was sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing. Chantharath is charged with one felony count of first-degree driving while impaired. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence is seven years imprisonment and/or a $14,000 fine.
All three occupants were asked to exit the vehicle for a search. A small bag containing white crystals was reportedly located on Thammalong’s person during a pat-down. The bag weighed 5.9 grams and field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Thammalong faces one count of fifth-degree drug possession, which carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
A black bag, previously held by Meuangkhoth, reportedly contained a zip-lock bag with a large white crystal inside that weighed 49.4 grams and field-tested positive for methamphetamine. According to the criminal complaint, a wallet with multiple bank cards belonging to Meuangkhoth was also inside the black bag.
Meuangkhoth is charged with second-degree drug possession, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and/or $1,000,000 fine, but not less than four years.
Chantharath denied knowing anything about the illegal substances inside the vehicle. He stated he was only slow to pull over at the beginning of the traffic stop because of the one-lane road, despite the road being two lanes.
All three occupants were arrested and transported to the Nobles County Jail. Thammalong, Meuangkhoth and Chantharath are all scheduled to make their initial appearances in court on Oct. 18.