[UPDATE 12:05 a.m.] Have Dope, Will Travel…?
Starting at approximately 7 p.m. this evening, law enforcement had a U-Haul stopped at a gas station in Garberville. According to local resident Shawn Crawley who provided all the photos except the first three, the van contained “weed hanging on wires or string all the way to the back.”
The California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department were on the scene. However, the CHP dispatch said the Sheriff’s Office was in charge. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that they had deputies “on a traffic stop” but could not provide further information at this time.
Crawley said the van was pulled over because of a traffic infraction. Then one of the passengers attempted to flee because he had a felony. Because of that, Crawley said, law enforcement searched the van.
At this point, the facts in this breaking story are still unclear and we will be attempting to get you the complete story as soon as possible.
UPDATE 10:15 p.m.: Sgt. Jesse Taylor of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office wrote us that more details would be released tomorrow. However, he did write, “This was a sheriff’s office traffic stop, not CHP. One of the arrestees is Jason Rice, who is / was on the Most Wanted Poster. This was a pretty significant bust and there will be a press release issued ASAP in the AM. Thanks for reporting!”
UPDATE 12:05 a.m.: According to Sgt. Sam Williams of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, around 7 p.m. a deputy saw the U-Haul van on the main street of Garberville. “It didn’t have its lights on and was driving in the wrong lane,” said Williams. The deputy pulled the van over.
After the traffic stop, as the deputy was walking up on the driver’s side a passenger left the vehicle and went into a nearby business. “When he came out of the store, he put his hoodie up and was trying to walk away,” explained Williams. Deputies interviewed the man, Jason Rice, and he was determined to be wanted and was taken into custody.
According to Williams, “There were three males in the truck when we stopped it.” Rice was one passenger. The second passenger also had a warrant out for his arrest. “While we were taking care of it, we were by the rear of the van,” Williams explained. “We smelled the odor of fresh cut marijuana. The closer you got to the door, the more you could smell it. Because of the type of vehicle, we can search it based on the odor.”
The driver claimed he did not have a key for the storage area of the van. “He claimed he was hauling furniture,” Williams said. “He picked it up at an unknown location and was delivering it to an unknown location…,” he said dryly.
The lock on the storage area was then broken. Deputies located “scales, manufacturing equipment for a hash lab,…dehumidifiers, extension cords and five gallon buckets and bags and drills,” said Williams. “A bunch of miscellaneous things. It looks like they packed up a whole grow and split.”
The driver was arrested for sales and for transportation as well as several other related charges. Jason Rice was arrested also. The second passenger was released with a citation for his warrant.