Marijuana profiling of Colorado cars happened to me twice in one trip, says Westword writer

britt chester 205x205.jpg
More photos below.
In writing about the marijuana-possession arrest of Brighton's Brian Unbehaun last month, we explored claims that cars with Colorado plates are being profiled in other states because of our marijuana laws. Since then, more profiling anecdotes have rolled in amid related reports, like a TV station piece about an alleged drug pipeline between Colorado and Nebraska. Now, however, we've got the best evidence yet that such profiling is a thing thanks to Westworder Britt Chester, who was stopped and hassled not once but twice, in two separate states, during a cross-country trip last week.

Chester is well-known to readers of our Backbeat blog for his concert reviews and photography, and he's occasionally ventured into The Latest Word, too, as in a December post about his arrest for skateboarding -- a dust-up that resulted in him posing for one of the sweetest-ever mug shots under his given name, Jonathan Chester.

britt chester mug shot large.jpg
Britt Chester's excellent 2012 mug shot.
Despite his love for Colorado, though, Chester recently decided to move back to his home state of North Carolina to be closer to his family, among other things -- and last week, he and a pal set out for the journey in a truck with Colorado license plates. But they didn't get far before they ran afoul of the law.

"We were about halfway through Kansas when a state trooper pulled us over," Chester says.

On what pretext?

"Driving in the left lane," he replies. "I didn't even know that was a law, but the trooper said that in the past couple of years, they've made driving in the left lane illegal unless you're passing. We weren't speeding -- we were just driving in the left lane."

Not that this appears to have been the real reason Chester captured the trooper's attention.

"He was really nice -- one of the nicest law-enforcement officers I've ever met," he notes. "And he said, 'Hey, listen, a lot of people are trafficking marijuana out of Colorado. Some of it's for medical purposes, some of it's for profit. Do you mind if I look in your truck?'"

As the mug shot above indicates, Chester has had some experience interacting with the authorities, and he understood that he didn't have to allow his truck to be searched. But while he's been known to enjoy the occasional bud, "I knew we didn't have anything on us," he says. "We had some rolling papers, but there was no pot, no paraphernalia. So we said, 'Okay.'"

The trooper looked around, and when he didn't see anything untoward, he allowed Chester and friend to be on their way. But the failure to catch them riding dirty wouldn't dissuade him from using the same technique in the future.

"He said they were keeping their eye out for Colorado plates," Chester recalls.

His brethren further east were doing likewise, as Chester discovered upon hitting Tennessee.

Continue for more of Britt Chester's account of marijuana profiling.



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263 comments
JimTom
JimTom

Just went through both states and only saw 2 or 3 cops. I guess if you don't look like a dirt bag they don't pay you any attention.

Mary Cicotello
Mary Cicotello

My spouse got profiled in Illinois. In a 2 hour search, which amounted to nothing, the cops took off the inside door panels and several other parts of our truck. But it was a delay in the trip, what a pain in the ass.

JimTom
JimTom

This is a 4 month old story West what is the point of reposting it? I am old, gray, and look conservative, lets see how many times I get pulled over on my 3500 mile trip next week. Going through both Nebraska and Kansas so we will see.

Karen Trujillo
Karen Trujillo

To be fair, Co. needs to start stopping & searching vehicles, here, from other states, for many reasons, in the past , say, 50yrs..

Peggy Malchow Sass
Peggy Malchow Sass

Hmm. I think there's another kind of profiling going on too. In June I went on a car trip, with Colorado plates, through seven other states, and I was not stopped once. Maybe Colorado drivers should try looking like a woman "of a certain age."

Wendy Dennie
Wendy Dennie

Just rent a vehicle with different plates before going cross country...duh

johnpsi
johnpsi

wow twice this guy totally gave up all his rights. 

Aaron LeForce
Aaron LeForce

I get tailed every time I cross over into kansas...thank god for cruise control.

Gary Lindstrom
Gary Lindstrom

I am a college professor and my students tell me that crossing the bridge from Omaha to Iowa is tricky because the Iowa Highway Patrol stops all Colorado cars.

Ben Beeby
Ben Beeby

yeah I read all these articles, and I was on guard my entire vacation across Wyoming, never got pulled over once. Maybe if your car looks like a stoner mobile, or better yet your van, but if you drive a newer model family car around the speed limit, at least our neighbor to the north seemed freiendly. However, since 75% of the cars on the road in WY this time of year have green and white plates, Id wonder how this would be possible to begin with.

itz_mista_kurupt
itz_mista_kurupt

Next time dont be a dumb ass and allow them to search. Its well known they fuck peoples shit up and make messes and dont clean it up

itz_mista_kurupt
itz_mista_kurupt

Next time dont be a dumb ass and allow them to search. Its well known they fuck peoples shit up and make messes and dont clean it up

Jon Parniawski
Jon Parniawski

This is why Colorado needs to establish it's own armed border patrol...make sure people aren't trafficking and create lots of jobs for our state. Or just grow up and accept the fact you will probably get pulled over on a trip out of state. If you aren't carrying, why worry about a few minutes of your time?

Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

@ David Bailey. That's because under any other circumstances, right-wing turds like Chris FEstus have no problem with profiling by law enforcement so as long it doesn't personally affect him. Take RACIAL/ETHNIC profiling, for instance.

Doug Hubka
Doug Hubka

Wonder if this writer has thought about all the MJ bumper stickers on his car ?

Krissy Twitchell
Krissy Twitchell

We were coming from washington back to Co and Idaho police pulled us over for doing 4 miles over the speed limit. Says, "I noticed the out of state plates, where you from?" Really? If you noticed them, then you saw the green and white mountains and that it said colorado... Ass. So he asked.where we were coming from... Told him WA, and immediately he started asking drug related questions. "marijuana is legal in wa, did you bring it back? Do you smoke marijuana? You didnt bring back anything to grow with you? Its legal for us to stop you and search you cuz its not legal in idaho" go ahead ahole. So profiled for the plates.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

"am I under arrest? am I free to go?"

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

Glove compartment is locked so is the trunk in the back.

Know Your Rights.

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

There's cops and then there's pigs. Sadly, the later seems far more common these days. I never grant permission to search and I always file a complaint if harassed. Did you know you can complain not only to the officer's department but to the state's licensing board, their Governor's Office, and to the FBI. It may not do much but it does put a black mark on their file and come promotion time, those can add up. Be persistent. Far more can be accomplished with pen and paper than you imagine.

orson
orson

Did this guy just bend over and let them do the cavity search too?  After all, he wasn't hiding anything so he should just consent to that too, right?  lol.  There is no reason to ever consent to a search that is intended to gather evidence against you.  ...not your car, your home, your computer, your body.

Profiling colorado plates sucks but there is a reason this guy was getting searched after being pulled over.  He beams with stoner vibes, just look at his pictures.  He met the stereotype of a marijuana mule.  Maybe he didn't have marijuana on him but I bet if he didn't act like a stoner, and didn't look like a typical stoner he wouldn't have been searched.  Stoners think they can go incognito but they can't..they can't turn off their stoner programming and they stick out like sore thumbs.  Stoners can expect similar treatment in colorado if the DUIM law passes, with an added blood test if they find anything in the vehicle.

urik7171
urik7171

You guys really did everyone a disservice.  Whether you're carrying something or not you should ALWAYS say no to searches because you devalue the 4th amendment for everyone by saying yes.  Never ever let them search a car without probable cause.   

Davis Bailey
Davis Bailey

I like how @Chris Estus blames A64 voters rather than shady ass profiling out of state cops. Good to have you on the team buddy.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 *** Police stop 23 Boulder-bound drivers on U.S. 36 at Drug Checkpoint ***

Westminster police stopped 23 cars and made one arrest at a high-profile drug checkpoint in the Boulder-bound lanes of U.S. 36 on Tuesday night.

The cars were stopped for traffic violations between 7 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. near the Church Ranch Boulevard exit, Westminster police investigator Trevor Materasso said.

Of the 23 stopped, it's unclear how many were searched for drugs, but three traffic tickets were issued, and one man was arrested on suspicion of felony marijuana possession, Materasso said.

A person must possess at least 12 ounces of dried marijuana to be charged with a felony in Colorado, according to state statutes.

http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_20852880/police-stop-23-boulder-bound-drivers-u-s

A64 = STILL a FELONY to possess 12+ ounces of pot!

Arrests Prevented by A64 = ZERO !!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JimTom ... next time dress and act like a dirt bag to test your theory.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Karen Trujillo ... check all those Texas vehicles ... to determine if they're carrying unlicensed bullshit.


JimTom
JimTom

@Wendy Dennie where do you rent a car with out of state plates in Denver? ...duh

spiggy66
spiggy66

@Jon Parniawski  why worry? because profiling is ILLEGAL , fabricating reasonms to stop people and search their cars is ILLEGAL 


or dont you expect the police to folow the law?

csubomb05
csubomb05

@Jon Parniawski This wasn't a "few min" of his time.  It was two HOURS let alone all the mess they caused and REFUSED to even apologize for it.  But even if you ignore that, it's still BLATANTLY unacceptable to be stereotyped as doing something just because of what your license plates says.  I think that's the part you aren't getting.  Maybe you'll understand it if you had to prove to law enforcement that you weren't a rapist pedophile sex offender every time you left your hometown.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Dan Mason  ... "you lookin' at me?"

spiggy66
spiggy66

@urik7171  

 yeah --just get yourself handcuffed and brought in for questioning. and dont think it doesnt happen it does all the time.  its better to just let the fkers search because they are going to do it anyway as soon as you say no they will assume RS and they will call out k9s.

JimTom
JimTom

All I know is there wasn't a problem before A64. I am not against legalization but I am against poorly worded crap that gives the government the right to make all the rules. There is no team my friend this is life you look out for yourself.  

spiggy66
spiggy66

@DonkeyHotay baloney. Ive seen police let people go with teir mj just a month ago in Colorado Springs.

 still fuming about losing your easy  money tax free  eh Donkey?lolol!!! eehaw

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@level3 ... unless you're Cognitively_Dissonant, speeding on purpose, ignoring other traffic laws, out of state, and transporting illegal edibles ... then Just Say YES!

Yes Officer, please insert your Fist of Enforcement into my compliant quivering anus, some Fascist ex-Cop from Texas sold me a video on how to fool you with my sycophantic supplication. 




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JimTom ... never seen the rental lots at major national companies?

Many have out of state plates, as they've been dropped off on one-way rentals, especially at/near airport locations.

hth.

spiggy66
spiggy66

@JimTom  

 you must have a sad life with zero true friends. sad.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay Keep spreading your bullshit, jackass. It's all you know. It's obvious your either unable to read with comprehension or enjoy deliberately misrepresenting what others say. No one said anything about ignoring any traffic laws, and no one said to commit any trafficking.

Furthermore, Barry Cooper is not a "fascist." He was a drug interdiction cop, and he quit because it was immoral. He now works to help people avoid being targeted. 

I'm sure if he made a DVD "How to be a lush and not get caught" you'd buy one.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@JimTom ... with an extra large trunk.

The problem with Rental Cars is you don't know how much cocaine or meth the last fool smuggled in it, and whether the residual odor is enough for the K9 to hit on.

spiggy66
spiggy66

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident  

they will search anyway --only not giving consent will get you harrassed as well. 

so yes its the smart way to deal with cops give consent unless you have something.

 being a big idiot with an obnoxious pie hole like yours , Donkey,  will only get you a cpl more hours of waiting time  its not necessary--what a jack ass. lolol

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident That's correct. Your confusion is obviously due to your inability comprehend grammar.

YOUR READING COMPREHENSION IS SHIT!

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident WAS a drug interdiction cop. Now WORKS to STOP that shit. Arrests are not convictions.

YOUR READING COMPREHENSION IS SHIT.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident "Barry Cooper is not a "fascist." He was a drug interdiction cop ..."

Who, by his own braggadocio, sent 100s of non-violent marijuana users to JAIL!

This FASCIST SCUMBAG then attempted to run for public office in Texas,  but was forced to drop out of the race due to multiple arrests.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... well then you coprophagic clown, if you ain't carrying anything illegal, what's the point of your "Consent" gamble in a vain attempt to avoid the K9 ?

Just Say NO to ALL Searches!


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