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Criminals handbook

Florida Man Steals Rawlins Police Car While Handcuffed; Eludes Cops For 70 Miles

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on handcuffs and how, unless you happen to be Houdini or Mel Gibson, you should pretty much wave the white flag if wearing those accessories.

Unfortunately for Florida man James Estes, he’s not Houdini nor Mel Gibson and that handbook does not exist.

It turns out Estes was a wanted man for a parole violation in California when he was riding a motorcycle through the town of Rawlins.

Everything was good except he didn’t have any visible registration.

The Rawlins Police spotted the infraction and attempted to pull Estes over.

As happens so often in these stories, the suspect had a difference of opinion about being pulled over and opted to leave instead.

Interstate 80 was available so Estes jumped on that motorway thereby increasing the number of law enforcement officials who got involved and decreasing the number of available turnoffs.

At mile marker 189, Estes apparently thought he had a better chance of outrunning law enforcement on foot. So he abandoned the motorcycle and began the race.

Turns out, he was wrong in that assessment as quickly after, Estes was tackled and placed under arrest.

Normally, this is where the story ends. But James Estes is from Florida. He was just getting started.

Now, in the back of the patrol car, Estes was contemplating his options. He could stay arrested and face the music. Or he could treat it like a Daily Double on Jeopardy and bet it all for glory.

Florida man chose option 2.

His first action was to slide his handcuffed arms to the front of his body. Check.

Then, he crawled through the center partition of the vehicle to the front seat where — bonus — he discovered the car was running. How could he stop now?

With no one in the car but him, he decided to take the police car out for a drive.

Forget thwarting the police with a banana in the tailpipe. Estes actually managed to steal a police car while handcuffed. And then he drove 70 miles down Interstate 80 in the stolen police car.

At mile marker 119 in Sweetwater County, Estes somehow lost control of the stolen vehicle. Upon stopping, he was able to get out, however, and gave a footrace another shot — even though handcuffs would likely make him slower than last time — not to mention, he would likely look like a buffoon.

Second verse. Same as the first.

Tackled again. Arrested again. 

But now with many, many, many more charges. Not only in Carbon County but in neighboring Sweetwater County.

If found guilty, Florida man will likely be a Wyoming man for some time to come.

All suspects are presumed innocent (even this guy) until proved guilty.

*NOTE: This story has been corrected. An earlier version reported that Estes allegedly obeyed one law at one point during the ordeal. That is not the case. He allegedly broke that law as well. In fact, he never came close to obeying any law whatsoever. We regret the error. — Ed.

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Casper Man Demonstrates Why Running From a Police Dog Is Not Smart

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on police dogs and why running from them is rarely a good idea.

Sadly, for Cheyenne man Joseph Girone, there is no chapter or handbook, as he learned the hard way when he was being arrested on Thursday for a felony warrant at a local diner.

The Cheyenne Police succeeded with Girone’s arrest thanks to the help of K9 Pavel, who took him down almost immediately after the dog was let loose.

It’s unfortunate for him that he didn’t see a video shot by a Casper Rotary Club earlier this week demonstrating how police dogs do their jobs. It would have been much less painful for him.

Rotary Club Assistant Governor Albon Shaw donned a giant Michelin-Man-like padded suit to demonstrate the effectiveness of police dogs.

The idea for Shaw to be the guinea pig came from his wife, he said, who was attending the Rotary Club meeting where a police officer was talking about how police dogs sniff out drugs.

She then told the Rotary Club that her husband would love to show how police dogs take people down. Then she informed him.

“My wife ‘volun-told’ me I was going to do it,” Shaw told Cowboy State Daily.

Banjo, the Casper Police dog, couldn’t wait to go after Shaw. 

In about one second the rotarian was down and the Casper PD was pulling the dog off of him.

“They are trained to never let you go,” Shaw said. “Until they are told to let you go, they are trained to not let go until they are called off.”

As for the experience, Shaw said he experienced a range of emotions from “nerve-wracking” at the beginning when he saw how anxious the dog was to go after him to “exhilarating” after it was all done and the dog was released from his body.

He said any exposure from the demonstration is a positive because it gives attention to the hard work of Casper’s law enforcement community.

“I feel our law enforcement is often under-appreciated and they put so much work and training into keeping our communities safe,” he said. “The dogs are great ambassadors for our police department.”

It’s too late for the Cheyenne man who was taken down Thursday, but Shaw had advice for future suspected criminals.

“I would strongly discourage ever, ever running away from a police dog,” Shaw said. “I don’t care how fast you are or how athletic you think you are, the dog is going to kick your butt.”

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Men Arrested in Uinta County For Hauling Fentanyl, Meth, And Cocaine

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminals’ handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on the importance of driving the speed limit when hauling illegal drugs.

It’s always preferable to go the speed limit, but when getting pulled over could mean facing decades in prison, it might be advisable to follow the rules of the road.

In other words, when breaking the law, it may be smart to be a good citizen and not break more laws.

Sadly for Edras Pantoja-Villafranca and Luis Ramon Medina-Sauceda, there is no chapter or handbook.

According to documents filed last week  in the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, everything was going fine for the duo as they were happily traveling across the state of Wyoming when they were clocked at 89 mph in a 75 mph zone.

That’s usually just a speeding ticket. 

But there were a few clues that gave drew the suspicion of a Uinta County Sheriff’s deputy.

There was the issue of all the front windows of the suspect’s car being down. In 20-degree weather. Which allowed giant billowing marijuana clouds to escape the cab.

Then there was the issue of the valid drivers’ license. The driver didn’t have one. Neither did the passenger, but the driver has to have one.

Then there was the issue of the pound of fentanyl, half-pound of cocaine, and 12 ounces of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Perhaps it was a misunderstanding and Pantoja-Villafranca and Medina-Sauceda thought the Wyoming State Legislature legalized these substances this past session. (The Legislature did not).

Perhaps it’s all circumstantial evidence.

Perhaps, but then there’s the issue of the text messages on both of their phones discussing drug sales.

Both men are 100% innocent, of course, until proven guilty.

They are awaiting a trial on their charges in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne.

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Man With Suspended License, Felony Amount of Cocaine Attempts to Elude Police; Fails Miserably

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on the importance of tires.

Unfortunately for Denver, Colorado, resident Willie F. Zanders, neither the chapter nor the handbook exists.

Tires are considered an important accessory for vehicles. 

That’s not to say a vehicle can’t drive without tires, but the experience is improved with them. Especially when driving in excess of 100 mph.

Zanders discovered that when he decided to drive through Wyoming with a felony amount of cocaine, a suspended license and a firearm — even though as a person convicted of a felony, he should not have had one.

It’s reasonable to think that when driving under those circumstances, adhering to the speed limit would be a preferred strategy.

Zanders opted for another strategy, however. A strategy of going 84 mph in a 70 mph zone.

Going 14 mph over the speed limit will usually get you pulled over unless you are driving to Denver where the speed limit is somewhere between Daytona 500 and the speed of sound. (Unless you are in the far left lane where someone with their turn signal on is going 45.)

Regardless, when the Wyoming Highway Patrol requested Zanders pull over for the speeding infraction, Zanders declined.

Zanders, again, pursued a different strategy. He floored it.

As he was driving north on U.S. Highway 85 near Hawk Springs, he didn’t really have a lot of options.

Torrington was ahead — which was his only option.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol alerted the Torrington Police Department of the speeding truck and the Torrington PD set up spike strips — which Zanders blew through at more than 100 mph.

This is where Zanders got a crash course in the importance of tires.

His vehicle riding now on rims, Zanders kept the gas pedal floored and was doing great until an Arby’s sign in Torrington jumped out in front of him, stopping Zanders and his truck immediately.

At that point, unlike countless other criminals featured in our Criminal’s Handbook series, Zanders surpassingly did not take off running.

By not continuing to elude law enforcement, Zanders limited the charges against him to fleeing to elude, felony possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), driving on a suspended license, speeding, and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony.  

Of course, Zanders is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Man Crams 300 Pounds of Marijuana in Car & Tries to Transport it Across Wyoming; Fails Miserably

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on the strategy of trying to outwit drug-sniffing dogs.

Especially if you’ve crammed 300 pounds of marijuana into your car.

Unfortunately for one unnamed individual who was stopped at the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop in Laramie County, neither the handbook nor the chapter exists.

Also, unfortunately for this individual, Laramie County Sheriff’s K9 Arie didn’t have a cold.

All Arie had to do was walk around the car and conduct a “free air sniff” when he knew he wasn’t dealing with some small timer like Jeff Spicoli in a van.

Instead, the ensuing search yielded 11 giant identical duffel bags all packed the same way and full of pot — totaling some 296.5 pounds.

It wasn’t like the suspect didn’t try to hide the smell. He wasn’t smoking a 13-pound burrito-looking joint like Cheech and Chong did in the movie “Up In Smoke.”

He wrapped the marijuana in heat-sealed plastic packaging and odor resistant bags.

But it wasn’t a thorough job. The public information officer for the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect was sloppy.

“Even though the dope was in heat-sealed plastic packaging, there was loose marijuana under the packaging,” Deputy Jeffery Barnes told Cowboy State Daily.

“Arie hit on the driver’s side door almost immediately after Deputy Grimm got him out of the patrol vehicle,” Barnes said.

Then it was picture time. The suspect got a free mugshot and accommodations provided by the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office. 

Arie, on the other hand, posed triumphantly in front of the 300 pounds of weed and then was rewarded with a ball.

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Drunk Man Puts Drunk Friend in Bucket of Stolen Front-End Loader And Drives To Hospital; Gets Arrested

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a section on Driving Under the Influence and why it’s not advisable to do so. 

Especially if you’re driving a stolen front-end-loader with your drunk friend in the bucket and your license has been revoked for 15 years because you’ve had three prior DUIs.

Unfortunately for Lincoln, Nebraska resident Jordan Evans that handbook nor the chapter exists.

For Evans, it was not a pleasant way to end the day. If anything, his evening sounded like a scene from the movie “The Hangover” — except that he didn’t get away with anything.

According to reports, Evans was just taking his 40-year-old friend to the emergency room because he was injured.

Problem is, Evans was drunk and the method of travel he chose was a front-end-loader that he didn’t own. And he put his injured friend in the bucket — which kind of draws attention to yourself.

Then there was the problem of parking. Once Evans pulled up to the ambulance bay and dropped his friend off, he left the front-end loader there.

That blocked ambulances from getting in which meant the hospital called the police.

When the police arrived, they found a bottle of booze in the front-end loader and the inebriated Evans.

Unable to explain his way out of anything, Evans was charged with felony theft, a fourth-offense DUI, and driving during a 15-year license revocation.

All requests for dashcam footage of the conversation between Evans and the police officers were sadly ignored.

Evans, of course, is innocent until proven guilty.

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Man Attempts to Elude Law Enforcement By Driving Through Oozing Mud-Filled Field; Fails Spectacularly

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, there should be a chapter on the strategy of trying to elude law enforcement by exiting a paved road and then attempting to drive through an ocean of mud.

Sadly for a yet-to-be-named driver who was arrested in the middle of a field near Douglas on Monday, that handbook and chapter do not exist.

Not that the driver would have a better outcome either way, but when the Wyoming terrain is considered — especially in early spring — there are obstacles to overcome when pursuing freedom. 

Snow and mud, which are in plentiful supply this time of year, generally are not helpful for fleeing suspects.

In this case, the area had recently received nearly 3 feet of snow, and warm weekend temperatures had turned the fields into oozing sinkholes of sludge.

This particular driver, who was suspected of drunk driving, didn’t seem to grasp his surroundings when being pursued on Interstate 25 by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Preferring not to pull over when a trooper made the request, the suspect opted to cross the median and drive down the wrong way of the Interstate before hopping onto State Highway 26.

Near Dwyer Road, the suspect employed the leave-the-paved-road-and-try-driving-through-a-mud-filled-black-hole strategy.

Upon immediately getting his car stuck in the mud, the suspect thought he might have better luck if he took off on foot — in the mud.

Upon immediately getting tackled in the mud, the suspect was subsequently arrested.

During the arrest, the suspect added a guaranteed felony charge to his laundry list of charges by trying — unsuccessfully — to disarm the trooper.

Of course, the suspect is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Due to this incident’s nature, the Division of Criminal Investigation has been requested to assist with this investigation. As with standard practice, the troopers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation.

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Man Attempts to Elude Highway Patrol On Closed Interstate Following Historic Blizzard In Middle of Nowhere

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook there really should be a section on the strategy of trying to elude law enforcement on a closed interstate following an historic blizzard which shut down that highway for nearly four days.

Sadly, for Montana resident Michael Hallier there is no such chapter nor handbook.

Otherwise he may have realized that trying to outrun a Wyoming Highway Patrol officer on a highway that had snow drifts of more than five feet high in perhaps the most desolate stretch of I-80 was not the brightest of moves.

Turns out Hallier was near Wamsutter, Wyoming — which, at times, resembles the moon.

He was spotted trying to drive around the clearly marked closed gate at the onramp.

When the officer saw Hallier’s attempt, he went out to let him know that this was not allowable.

Earlier that day, a Californian tried the same maneuver outside of Laramie in a Mini Cooper. That resulted in costly wrecks and putting all snowplows out of commission for nearly four hours.

In Hallier’s case, once he saw the highway patrolman, he floored it and somehow exceeded 100mph.

Hallier even crossed the interstate onto the opposite lanes of travel. Nothing happened there, of course, because no one (outside of the Californian) was on Interstate 80– because it was closed.

Hallier took an exit and then decided to try his luck on an oilfield road in the desert north of Wamsutter — which always resembles the moon.

To no one’s surprise, Hallier failed in his escape slamming his vehicle into a snowbank.

He was subsequently arrested.

Hallier was charged with fleeing to elude, property damage, reckless driving, reckless endangering, driving on a closed road, and speeding.

Of course, Hallier is considered innocent until proven guilty. The dash cam footage must be spectacular.

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Jimmy Orr: Wyoming Police Dog Responsible For Busting Three Drug Traffickers in One Week

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a section on transporting drugs across Wyoming and why it’s a bad idea.

For starters, drugs are illegal in Wyoming. 

It’s not like Oregon where you can shoot-up heroin laced with Liquid Plumber in a daycare center while setting fire to a small business and win a participation trophy.

Things are different in Wyoming. And the best way not to get arrested for transporting drugs across Wyoming is not to drive across Wyoming transporting drugs.

Try Colorado. It’s not Oregon but you’ve got a better shot there.

In Wyoming, you have to deal with Arie the drug dog.

Just last week alone, Arie a K-9 with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office, was responsible for three different felony drug arrests.

That means a lot of drugs.

On February 9, Arie and his human handler were called out to a traffic stop at mile marker 383 in southeastern Wyoming.

When Arie made it out there, he detected a particular scent. Maybe it was because the motorists were carrying 69 pounds of raw marijuana in their vehicle.

On Valentine’s Day, Arie was sent out again. This time mile marker 8 heading south.

Once again, Arie caught a whiff of a particular scent. Perhaps it was the 64 pounds of marijuana this doofus was hauling.

One day later, Arie was requested again — this time in Cheyenne — and he detected the presence of two ounces of methamphetamine.

The lesson in all of this is: don’t transport drugs across Wyoming.

Arie’s not messing around.

Congratulations to Arie and his humans at the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office.

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Man Arrested For Driving 150 MPH Near Glenrock; Found Cowering Under a Bush

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If there were a criminal’s handbook you would think there would be a chapter on driving and what law enforcement regards as excessive speed.

It would mention that our friends in blue will usually give you a break for going just a little over the speed limit.

Like going 79 in a 75 or 43 in a 40.

But it is unlikely, they will give you a pass for going 150 when the speed limit is 80.

So begins the sad story of a California man who was allegedly driving his Dodge Challenger at near Category 5 hurricane speeds on Monday.

It seems that 26-year-old Santa Maria, California resident Matthew Ruiz was driving at a leisurely pace of 110mph (also illegal) when the Wyoming Highway Patrol pulled him over.

The officer thought Ruiz might be impaired (shocker) so did the standard thing: asked him for license, proof of insurance, etc.

Instead of producing said documents, Ruiz, apparently thinking the highway patrolman was Jackie Gleason in Cannonball Run, floored it.

The vehicle exited at Hat Six Road south of Casper and then was clocked at 150mph. 

That’s when the Highway Patrol gave up the chase for public safety. But they knew — as we all know — that you’re not going to outrun the radio.

Although it does raise the possibility that perhaps this individual had a plan. Like a helicopter was positioned over the horizon and at exactly the right time a ladder was going to drop and he would be airlifted away to safety.

Because this is Patrick Swayze in Point Break testosterone we’re talking about.

Either that or the guy was a real dumbass.

Turns out it was option 2.

Ruiz, apparently having run out of options, abandoned his car in Glenrock and a short time later was found whimpering and cowering under a bush.

Patrick Swayze he was not.

Ruiz was charged with a felony charge of driving while under the influence, fleeing to elude, driving while under suspension, open container, and reckless driving. 

Agencies that assisted with this event were Converse County Sheriff’s Department and Glenrock Police Department.

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Manhunt in Eastern Idaho Results in Gang Member Arrest

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If there were a criminal’s handbook, you would think they would have a section on tattoos and how they make criminals more identifiable.

Matthew James Wright, for example, might have missed that chapter.

He was arrested Saturday morning by the Pocatello, Idaho, police department after the U.S. Marshal’s Service launched a manhunt for the fugitive who was wanted for federal probation violations.

Turns out he has four felony convictions for possession of firearms.

Unfortunately for Wright, his head, face, and neck look like the front of a grafittied building — a badly graffitied building.

So when the feds launched the manhunt on Friday, it should come as little surprise that he was found only hours later.

Also of no surprise, he was arrested for allegedly committing more crimes.  Wright apparently didn’t read the chapter on stealing vehicles and how trying to escape the police after smashing into other cars — thereby disabling your vehicle — and then trying to run away on foot is a lose-lose situation.

He proved that chapter correct on Saturday morning when he did all of the above for a vaunted criminal’s trifecta.

Perhaps things would have gone better for Wright had he associated with different people. He could have joined the Kiwanis or the Lion’s Club or maybe Rotary.

Instead he chose the Sureños — an organization really not known for civic-minded projects like cleaning up parks or giving food to the needy.  Instead, this group — very well established in prisons — excels at distributing drugs and murdering people.

Apparently Wright has an accurate nickname, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.  He’s known as “Dopie.”

The U.S. Marshal’s Service said everyone should “rest easy” now that Dopie is back in his home environment.

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Doorbell Camera Catches Moron Committing Hit-And-Run in Worland; Apprehended Immediately

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If there were a criminal handbook, you would think there would be a chapter on the prevalence of video cams and how they really are everywhere.

Maybe one moron thought Washakie County was somehow exempt from technology and they wouldn’t have to worry about it.

They thought wrong.

Turns out a simple doorbell camera took the footage which shows a white four door pickup truck smashing into a parked vehicle which then smashed into a trailer and then quickly leaving the scene.

Added bonus, the doorbell-cam recorded the sound.

Not only did the police have video of the crash itself but they knew exactly what time it happened. 

Then they could post the video (which they did) and enlist the public’s help (which they did) and within two hours the suspected moron was captured.

“Thanks to the public’s help on this,” the post said.  “We appreciate the community’s support with helping us solve this.

“It was fortunate that the homeowner had a doorbell camera in this incident which was very helpful with giving us a direction to go with this investigation,” the police department said.

Had the offending moron stopped and called the police, perhaps they wouldn’t face a laundry list of charges.

Hit-and-run is never a good charge to try to beat — especially when all the evidence is on video.

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Driver, Perhaps With No Functioning Brain, Arrested After Attempting to Elude Troopers In Stolen Vehicle

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If there is a criminal’s handbook, you would think it would explain that trying to elude the Wyoming Highway Patrol on a remote stretch of interstate highway in Wyoming that has few exits (all of which pretty much lead to nowhere) has a success rate of basically zero.

Rapid City, South Dakota, resident Tinan Sky Trudell apparently skipped that chapter (if the handbook exists) and is now in custody following a pursuit that took place on I-25 Tuesday morning.

Turns out a trooper identified a stolen vehicle traveling on the interstate and attempted to pull the car over.

The driver of the 2017 Hyundai Veloster apparently did not agree to be pulled over and instead gunned the car, thinking she could outrun the Wyoming Highway Patrol despite being on a road with very few options.

While we have never heard of a Hyundai Veloster before, it became apparent after one quick Google search that it would not fare well in an off-roading situation.

The driver was south of Wheatland (and heading south) meaning there were only a handful of exits in the 70 miles to Cheyenne thereby making the prospects for escape likely dim — unless the vehicle could sprout wings.

We again resorted to Google and found out that on-demand wings were not an option in a 2017 Hyundai Veloster.

How did it play out?

Like they all do. The Highway Patrol deployed spike strips. The car’s tires deflated. The driver, apparently thinking there was still a way out, kept going on the vehicle’s rims.

The trooper attempted a Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI) maneuver and the stolen vehicle came to a stop.

At which point the driver apparently gave up.

Now Trudell faces a laundry list of charges including: possession of a controlled substance (shocker), possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing to elude, reckless driving, speeding, and other traffic-related offenses.

Note: All suspects are presumed innocent until proved guilty.

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Man Charged With Transporting Meth After Being Pulled Over For Going 92MPH

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If there is a criminal’s handbook, you would think there would be a section that explained if you are transporting meth across Wyoming, it would be advisable not to drive 92 mph while smoking marijuana.

Because if you do that, you might as well install neon lights on the outside of your car spelling out “I’m an idiot”.

Dickinson, North Dakota, resident Jerry Dawson apparently skipped that chapter (if the handbook exists) because he and his passenger Bobby Dickerson of Bakersfield, California, were pulled over on Oct. 13 for allegedly doing exactly that.

Dickerson drew more attention to himself by by attempting to run away (allegedly) from the troopers once they were pulled over.

The problem there is they were 23 miles outside of Gillette. So there really wasn’t anywhere to run away to. And, no surprise to anyone, he was apprehended in a nearby field.

What tipped the Highway Patrol off? Outside of going 22 mph over the speed limit, the troopers allegedly saw a marijuana bud on the passenger seat and could smell the odor of burnt marijuana.

“This prompted a search of the car.  In the trunk of the Chrysler, troopers located approximately 2 pounds of methamphetamine,” the Highway Patrol reported.

Dawson and Dickerson have been charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance, and felony possession with intent to deliver.

No word if Dickerson was also charged with attempting to flee from an officer.

The methamphetamine is believed to have originated out of Las Vegas, Nevada, with a final destination of North Dakota. 

Note: All suspects are presumed innocent until proved guilty.

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