A California real estate agent was arrested in Arkansas in February and accused of trafficking 250 pounds of marijuana between the two states.
Heidi Hampton, a resident of Redding, Cal., was arrested in Pope County, Ark., after police stopped her for reckless driving, according to local press reports. Officers allegedly found the “high grade” cannabis in a trailer towed behind her truck.
Hampton seemed “very nervous” when Pope County sheriff’s deputies stopped her and asked about her erratic driving, according to the sheriff’s department. The deputies brought a drug-sniffing dog to the car, and the dog allegedly alerted to drugs.
Hampton pulled over for erratic driving
When they searched the 1995 Dodge Ram pickup truck and the trailer with Hampton’s consent, the deputies allegedly found 253 pounds of high-quality marijuana. It was hidden under the floor of the trailer in a large secret compartment.
The sheriff’s department estimated the pot was worth $400,000. Hampton now faces charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver it. She was booked and released on bail, with a pending court date in March.
Local reports said she works as a real estate agent with Real Living Real Estate, a national agency, in Northern California. The company’s website no longer lists her as an agent.
Real estate facilitates drug smuggling
It’s not especially unusual to find real estate agents involved in drug smuggling. Real estate serves as a convenient form of money laundering for many drug dealers and can also be used as “drop sites” for drug deliveries.
The California-to-Arkansas route is well travelled by smugglers, though typically the marijuana originates in Southern California. The state produces 60 percent of the nation’s cannabis supply, and much of it follows interstate routes to the Midwest.
Of course, busts like this are rare, at least in the context of how much marijuana crosses the country each day. The vast majority makes it past federal agents, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and local police to reach its destination.
Marijuana laws are harsh in Arkansas, much harsher than in California. Delivery of between 100 and 500 pounds, or possession with intent to deliver it, carries a minimum penalty of six years in prison, a maximum of 30 years, and a fine of up to $15,000.