Marijuana trafficking case goes to jury today

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A two-day marijuana trial resumes today for a Missouri man arrested in October near Rose Lake with 23 pounds of pot in a duffel bag in his pickup truck.

Xuewen “Mike” Lin has pleaded not guilty to trafficking between 5 and 25 pounds of marijuana, and another felony of intending to deliver a controlled substance. The trafficking charge carries a mandatory three-year prison sentence.

State troopers said they pulled over Lin’s 2010 Chevy Silverado pickup truck before noon Oct. 10 east of Rose Lake on Interstate 90 because Lin failed to use his blinker for five seconds before changing lanes, and the pickup truck’s windows were too heavily tinted.

When asked about the contents of the vehicle, Lin, who said he was on his way to Spokane to visit friends, asked to have his attorney present, according to troopers.

Troopers deployed a drug dog that alerted on the Silverado. State police found a commercial marijuana grinder in the pickup’s bed and duffel bags filled with “jumbo” plastic pouches of marijuana, troopers said. Officers also found $17,500 cash in Lin’s possession.

But Lin’s attorney argued that troopers made the arrest before finding the cannabis and that they at best, had hazarded a guess that the cab’s windows were overly tinted. Lin’s erratic lane change, according to his defense attorney, was the result of the ISP patrol vehicle’s fast approach and because the patrol car followed too closely behind Lin, making Lin believe he must quickly change lanes.

In addition, attorney Harry Madsen said, troopers arrested Lin before a K-9 alerted on the vehicle. Madsen said that Lin did not ask for his attorney, but simply stated that he would not answer the trooper’s questions.

The conversation, Madsen said, would be part of the evidence because it was recorded on a body camera.

Madsen also accused troopers of abandoning the traffic stop to deploy the drug dog, instead of following through with the citations for an illegal lane change and illegal window tint.

“The stop was intentionally delayed to give time to run the K-9,” Madsen said at a motion hearing.

First District Judge John Mitchell however overruled Madsen’s request to suppress evidence. Mitchell also denied a motion by Madsen to withdraw as Lin’s attorney, which would have delayed this week’s trial.

At a Jan. 6 motion hearing, troopers said they were several car lengths behind Lin, that he failed to signal, and when Lin was confronted, he was shaking. Trooper Chris Cottrell said he checked the window tint and found the front window was in violation. When he ran Lin’s criminal history, “I found some things that were concerning,” Cottrell said.

“I believed at the time that there was a crime of drug trafficking,” Cottrell said.

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