A cracked windshield and unsteady driving led to the arrest Saturday of two Montana men and the seizure of 900 pounds of marijuana, marijuana concentrate and $15,000 in cash near Alexandria, Minn.
Alexander Clifford Gordon, 24, of Helena, and Jared Michael Desroches, 30, of Missoula, each were charged this week in Douglas County with two felony counts of first degree possession and sale of marijuana. Neither could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Aaron Myren said in court documents that he noticed a Chevrolet pickup truck pulling a camper eastbound on Interstate 94 near the Brandon exit because it’s unusual to see campers at this time of year. As the truck passed, he noticed a large horizontal crack across the windshield. He caught up with the truck, which he said was weaving onto and over the fog line, so he pulled it over.
Desroches, who’s listed in public records as managing member of Locavore Produce LLC in Missoula, was driving and Gordon was a passenger. Myren said the two men gave contradictory information about their travels, and he grew suspicious that they were smuggling drugs.
Interstate 94 has become a busy corridor for marijuana smuggling in recent years.
Desroches initially denied smuggling any drugs but then admitted there might be some marijuana in the vehicle, Myren said.
“Desroches stated that he has PTSD [post-traumatic stress syndrome] and does not want people going through his things,” he wrote. “Gordon admitted that concentrated THC [the active ingredient in marijuana] was in the vehicle but denied knowing what was in the attached camper. He then stated that the camper was full of trash bags.”
K-9 Trooper Argo, a dog trained to detect controlled substances, indicated that the camper contained contraband, though Desroches insisted that it contained nothing more than trash bags stuffed with his clothes, Myren said.
He said a quick search of the truck found loose marijuana, canisters, pipes and glass jars containing concentrated marijuana THC. The camper was filled from floor to ceiling with trash bags labeled with the type of marijuana they contained, Myren said.
The camper contained 900 pounds of pot, 406 one-gram packages of THC concentrate, 112 glass jars containing THC wax and $15,500 in cash. According to Myren, Desroches said he expected to be paid $30,000 to move the contraband, which the State Patrol estimated was worth $4.25 million on the street.
Claudia A. Clifford, 62, of Helena, Mont., posted bond for Gordon, which was conditioned upon him signing an agreement to waive extradition before leaving Minnesota. Clifford could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Hillary Parsons, an attorney representing Gordon, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. No attorney was listed for Desroches, who also was released on bond.