Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, but carrying eleven pounds of pot on a Greyhound bus with the "intent to manufacture or distribute" is not. That is the felony charge that landed 35-year-old Jason Ramirez in jail, after a routine check at a rest stop in Lamar uncovered an "abnormally heavy" pillow. Ramirez, who'd stopped inside a McDonald's, at first told police he was not a passenger. A bus ticket in his name said otherwise.
On December 17, Lamar Police Department officers contacted the driver of a Greyhound bus at Main and Holly streets, asking to deploy a routine drug detection K9. That search alerted officers to a seat in the back of the bus with a jacket and pillow, but no passenger.
The officers located a container with "a small amount of marijuana in the jacket pocket." (With the passage of Amendment 64, adults can legally possess small amounts of marijuana). But something was fishy about the pillow, Lamar police note in a news release: "When the pillow was picked up it was abnormally heavy and foreign objects could be detected by feel inside the pillow."
Lamar Chief of Police Gary McCrea tells us that the Greyhound was stopped outside a McDonald's; Ramirez had gone inside. Interviews with other bus passengers revealed his identity.
The officers contacted Ramirez, a Denver resident. He said he was not a passenger on the bus -- but the bus driver was holding a bus ticket in his name. And a computer check on the suspect revealed that he had two outstanding warrants. He was then detained and transported to the Police Annex for further investigation.
In the meantime, police obtained a search warrant, which authorized them to see what was making the pillow so abnormally heavy. They discovered several individually wrapped bricks of marijuana, with a total weight of more than eleven pounds.
Ramirez was then transported to the Prowers County Jail, where he is being held on bold set at $32,000. Court records apparently show that Ramirez's criminal history includes arrests for drunken driving, domestic abuse, assault, intimidating a witness and kidnapping.
Continue for more on the charges Ramirez is facing and the full police alert.
District Attorney Jennifer Swanson tells us that on December 21, Ramirez was charged formally with possession and intent to manufacture or distribute marijuana, which is a class four felony. She says that as of this morning, a public defender has filed a motion for a bond reduction -- and he is still in custody. He will be back in court on January 8.
Since the legalization of marijuana, district attorneys across the state have announced that they would be dropping pot cases, in which the suspected illegal possession would now be legal under the new state law.
Unfortunately for Ramierz, A64 allows for the possession of less than one ounce -- not more than ten pounds.
Here's his mugshot, followed by the full report from Lamar Police.
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The police alert:
On 12/17/12 Officers from the Lamar Police Department contacted the driver of the Greyhound Bus at Main and Holly and were given permission to deploy a drug detection K9. The drug detection K9 alerted to a seat in the rear of the bus. A jacket and a pillow were sitting on that seat. Officers located a container with a small amount of marijuana in the jacket pocket. When the pillow was picked up it was abnormally heavy and foreign objects could be detected by feel inside the pillow. On scene investigation and interviews of other bus passengers revealed the individual who had been sitting in the seat when the bus arrived in Lamar.
Officers contacted the individual, who proved to be Ramirez, age 35, of Denver. Ramirez denied being on the bus, although the bus driver was holding a bus ticket in his name. A computer check of Ramirez revealed he was wanted on two outstanding warrants. Ramirez was detained and transported to the Police Annex for further investigation.
A search warrant was applied for and obtained, which authorized officers to check inside the pillow. When the pillow was opened, Officers discovered several individually wrapped bricks which proved to contain marijuana. The total weight of the marijuana was over 11 pounds.
Jason Ramirez was transported to the Prowers County Jail where he is being held on the active warrant and a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Ramirez's bond is currently set at $32,000.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Suspect allegdly binged on beer, cocaine before killing fourteen-year-old girl"