Marijuana

Lawsuit: Advantage Rental Car Employee at DIA Demanded $50, Rented Car Full of Pot

A Colorado lawsuit alleges Advantage rented a car to a man from Miami with forty pounds of pot in the trunk.
A Colorado lawsuit alleges Advantage rented a car to a man from Miami with forty pounds of pot in the trunk. Lindsey Bartlett
A Miami man flew to Denver International Airport on a quest to buy a specific BMW, but he didn't find a car. Instead, a lawsuit alleges, he was extorted for $50 by an Advantage Rent A Car employee and given a rental car with forty pounds of marijuana in the trunk.

The lawsuit, filed in Colorado district court by Woodrow & Peluso LLC on behalf of Nang Thai, is seeking damages as a result of Advantage's "fraudulent conduct, theft and serious breaches of conduct." The lawsuit accuses Advantage of violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and committing civil theft, false imprisonment, breach of contract, fraudulent concealment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The details of the lawsuit, filed September 17, are bizarre at best. Thai flew into Denver International Airport in the early hours of July 12, after his flight had been delayed. At Advantage's rental car desk, he says he encountered a man who demanded $50 in cash or any amount of marijuana before he would rent a car to Thai. Thai paid the man with a cash app on his phone. "That's when [his] nightmare truly began," the lawsuit says.

"We really don't know what the point of it was. We'd like to get to the bottom of it."

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Thai had planned a cross-country road trip to hunt for a specific model of BMW. He hoped to look at a car in Commerce City and, from there, continue on to New Jersey, where there was another BMW he had his eye on.

After his ordeal at the airport, he only made it to Kansas before the police there pulled him over for expired license plates, according to the lawsuit. Police requested to search the car, which Thai refused. A drug-sniffing dog was then brought in to search the car. That's when police told Thai about the forty pounds of pot in the trunk.

Thai was then jailed in Colby, Kansas, for two days and one night, the lawsuit says. He was never charged and was mysteriously let go on July 13.

"He's very nervous, but he doesn't want this to happen to anyone else," explains Steven Woodrow, Thai's attorney.

When asked what happened or why someone would want to plant forty pounds of marijuana in a rental car, Woodrow says he and his client don't know.

"We really don't know what the point of it was. We'd like to get to the bottom of it," Woodrow says.

Woodrow says he doesn't know if the man who demanded $50 still works at Advantage, but "ultimately a company is responsible for what their employees do while on the job." Advantage did not return our requests for comment.

He also says that Thai and his firm have tried to get in touch with Advantage but have been "flatly ignored," though Advantage did bill Thai an additional $1,723.53, which includes costs for impounding the rental car and other charges.

"People shouldn't have to come to DIA and worry about renting a car and ending up in jail. That's appalling," Woodrow says.
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Paige Yowell joined Westword as a staff writer in 2018. Born and raised in Nebraska, she previously worked as a business reporter for the Omaha World-Herald.
Contact: Paige Yowell