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Californians Arrested for Bringing Weed to Ariz.

A California couple were arrested in Arizona on suspicion they tried to drive a marijuana grow-op through the state in a rental truck.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department in northern Arizona arrested Le Nguyen, 46, and his girlfriend, Kathy Nguyen, 42, along Interstate 40 near the small high-desert town of Seligman.

The Nguyens live in San Jose. They were being held in the Yavapai County jail April 2 on charges of transportation and possession of marijuana for sale, and marijuana production.

Le Kathy Nguyen

A sheriff’s deputy stopped the two on the freeway for lane change violations April 1. A drug dog alerted the deputy to alleged contraband, and the deputy proceeded to search the vehicle. Inside, the deputy allegedly found more than 100 cannabis plants, more than eight pounds of packaged weed, and grow equipment.

According to the sheriff’s department, the cultivation equipment included commercial-grade light hoods, high-quality lights, insulation, fans, irrigation equipment, and trays. The department did not place a dollar estimate on the confiscated items.

In a similar case on the same day, a San Francisco man was arrested in southern Arizona, near the Mexican border, and charged with transporting nearly two pounds of pot in his rental car.

Vonheinrick Geneve, 25, was arrested after a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy stopped the car he was driving on Interstate 10 outside the unincorporated town of Eloy, Ariz. The county sheriff’s department didn’t disclose why Geneve was stopped.

But the deputy reported that he smelled a strong scent of cannabis from inside the car and saw a transparent film canister with marijuana in the center console of the front seat. The deputy searched the car and found 1.88 pounds of high-quality marijuana, plus a digital scale.

Medical weed is legal in both California and Arizona. Arizona allows California MMJ patients to bring their weed to Arizona as long as they comply with that state’s medical pot laws. California doesn’t explicitly allow reciprocity for out-of-staters, though its rules are hazy.

Marijuana HandcuffsLast month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered police in Arizona to return Valerie Ann Okun’s medical pot after resisting court orders to do so for nearly three years. A Border Patrol agent arrested Okun, an Encinitas resident, in 2011 while she and her husband were driving through Yuma County.

Charges against her were dropped when she provided proof of her California MMJ status, but the sheriff’s department refused to return her weed, forcing her to sue to the Supreme Court.

Under Arizona’s MMJ rules, patients may grow up to 12 pot plants, but only if they live more than 25 miles from a qualifying dispensary. Patients may buy up to two and a half ounces of weed from dispensaries every two weeks.

The sheriff’s departments in Yavapai and Pinal counties didn’t say whether the Nguyens or Geneve presented proof of status as California medical marijuana patients.

About Matt Brooks

Based in San Francisco, Matt is a journalist who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than five years. He provides regular news coverage on marijuanaandthelaw.com and californiamarijuanamarket.com.

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