Drivers are often aware of the speed limit on the highway, but not every person may understand that there is also a speed minimum. Law enforcement has the right to pull a vehicle over for going both above and below the posted speed limit.
An Oregon man driving through Pennsylvania learned this lesson the hard way last week when he was pulled over by a state trooper for going 30 miles per hour under the posted speed limit. Mark Joseph Doyle, 63, of Oregon was arrested while transporting 510 pounds of vacuum-sealed dried marijuana flower on the Pennsylvania Turnpike through Mount Pleasant Township.
The arresting officer became suspicious when he witnessed the box truck driving at the “unreasonably slow speed” of only 40 miles per hour on the Pennsylvania Turnpike where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour. Mark Joseph Doyle, 63, was driving the box truck when it was pulled over by Trooper Marmol.
“A probable cause search was conducted of the box truck,” wrote Trooper Ryan Marmol. “A small amount of suspected marijuana was located in the cab of the box truck and approximately 510 pounds of suspected marijuana was located in a crate that was inside of the cargo area of the box truck. All evidence was seized and entered into evidence.”
Doyle is being charged with a felony count of “manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver and misdemeanor possession,” according to the Pennsylvania State Police. He is being held at the Westmorland County Jail without bail.
Doyle isn’t the only person to be apprehended while transporting large quantities of illegal drugs in this area. This part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, near the New Stanton Interchange, is known for big drug busts, according to state police officers.
“We have a hub when it comes to the New Stanton exchange and that New Stanton exchange off the Turnpike has a multitude of major arteries that come in and out,” State Trooper Stephen Limani said. “It just doesn’t stop, and it is a constant battle.”
Photo Courtesy of Pennsylvania State Police
Another lesson was learned the hard way in Texas recently, when a drug dog flagged two suitcases filled with marijuana upon arriving to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
According to a warrant from the Austin Police Department On Thursday, January 17, Antonio Salis, 28, was allegedly apprehended in possession of two large, hard-sided pieces of luggage filled with a total of 43 pounds of dried cannabis flower.
Salis was flying from Sacramento, CA, where marijuana is legal and available for purchase, to Austin, TX, where it remains illegal. Possession of any amount between five and 50 pounds, in Texas, is a felony offense punishable by two to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or both.
When the canine signaled to his handler that the two grey bags were ridin’ dirty, officers immediately noticed Antonio Salis’s full name on the luggage tags. Although Salis reportedly refused to allow his bags to be searched, they were confiscated anyway. At which time, Salis confessed that he only found the bags on the street right before his flight, and decided to fly his ground score home with him. Salis is being held on $30,000 bail.
Don’t Try This At Home
Commercial cannabis sales have been legal in California since the first day of 2018. Any person 21 years or older can walk into any recreational marijuana shop, and walk out with up to 28.5 grams of dried flower at one time. 28.5 grams is equal to about one ounce.
It would take 688 separate transactions to purchase all 43 pounds legally, from individual sales, at different retail shops. Let’s estimate, on the extremely low end, that it only takes 5 minutes to make a purchase. It would take more than 57 hours to stockpile 43 pounds. This seems unlikely considering that the black market is alive, well, and thriving in the Golden State.
Let this be a lesson to all — do not do this! Airports in states where cannabis prohibition still rules strong are on the lookout for mistakes like this. You may not be flagged flying out of a legal state, but it is very possible you will be caught after you arrive at your destination.