I-90 travelers allegedly found hauling 333 pounds of marijuana
Three individuals are charged with felony drug sale, possession and transporting a controlled substance across state lines.
WORTHINGTON — Three individuals were charged with importing controlled substances across state borders, a felony-level offense, after being stopped while pulling a trailer that allegedly contained 333 pounds of marijuana. The individuals also face counts of first-degree drug sale and first-degree drug possession.
Just before 10 a.m. on Nov. 11, a Minnesota State trooper reportedly observed a vehicle pulling a small U-haul trailer on Interstate 90. According to the report, the vehicle had a long crack in the front windshield, which appeared to obstruct the driver's view. The vehicle was weaving over the lanes, so the trooper initiated a traffic stop.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Poua Pheng Her, 36, of Lake Elmo, and the passengers were Chiakou Her, 61, also of Lake Elmo and Neng Vue Her, 57, of Oakdale.
After exiting the vehicle, Poua told the trooper he and his parents were helping his sister move from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Rochester, and that they were hauling her luggage. According to the complaint, Poua Her was inconsistent with the details he provided about their travel, before becoming vague and trying to change the subject.
The trooper ran a query on the vehicle and learned it had been in Yreka, California days prior, which is reportedly “infamous” for being a source of marijuana trafficking.
The trooper also spoke with Neng Her, who said they were traveling from Sacramento, Calif., and then reportedly changed to say they were coming from Fresno, Calif.
The trooper requested consent to search the vehicle and the accompanying trailer. Poua Her said the trooper could look in the vehicle but not the trailer. Chikou Her and Neng Her were asked to exit the vehicle and told they could wait inside a nearby gas station, due to the cold temperatures.
A K9 arrived on the scene and was deployed around the exterior of the vehicle, and reportedly alerted to findings at the front of the U-Haul and in the vehicle.
The trailer was padlocked, so a local mechanic was called out to cut the lock off. Once the door was opened, it was discovered that behind some pet porters were multiple black garbage bags allegedly containing raw marijuana that filled most of the trailer, according to the police report.
All three occupants of the vehicle were transported to the Nobles County Jail, where they were booked and held pending a court appearance. The bags reportedly contained a combined approximate 332.6 pounds of marijuana.
If convicted, the Hers each face a maximum sentence of 35 years, a $1.25 million fine, or both on the charge of importing controlled substances across state lines. Both the first-degree drug sale and drug possession charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1 million fine.
Note: This article was written based on information reported by local law enforcement agencies. The Globe reminds readers that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.