Marijuana: Darian Roseen's lawsuit claims cars with Colorado plates are being profiled for pot

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For more than a year, we've shared stories about alleged pot profiling of cars with Colorado license plates. Examples include a Westword writer stopped twice during one cross-country trip and a man who said he'd been improperly blamed for toking by managers at a Kansas hotel.

Now, Darian Roseen, seventy, has filed a lawsuit against the Idaho State Patrol on a similar claim -- and it's not the only recent tale of preconceptions created by our familiar green-and-white tags.

Roseen's story was first reported by Fox31. According to the station, the Pagosa Springs retiree was returning home from attending his daughter's baby shower in Washington state when he was followed into an Idaho rest stop by a state trooper.

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Mark Coonts.
The suit maintains that Roseen's vehicle was subjected to multiple searches, including one conducted after another officer drove it to a nearby sheriff's station. In the end, though, the law enforcers found nothing. So, after allegedly declining to let Roseen contact an attorney, he was let go -- but not before he was cited for careless driving.

Mark Coonts, Roseen's Idaho-based lawyer, hasn't responded to interview requests from Westword at this writing. But in an interview with Fox31, he said, "Just because you're from Colorado doesn't mean that you're automatically carrying marijuana into our state."

The suit inspired Colorado Springs' KRDO to look into the pot-profiling topic -- and it didn't take staffers long to find folks who said they, too, had been rousted because of their license plates.

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David Adkins and Kay Harmon in a photo from her Facebook page.
David Adkins and his girlfriend, Kay Harmon, said they'd been pulled over for no reason in Nevada this past January, by a state trooper who spent a lot of time "sniffing around" before concluding that they weren't in possession of any weed.

By the way, the trooper asserted that their Chevy Avalanche had been swerving -- which Adkins said only happened because he was watching the trooper's own vehicle behind him.

More reports of this sort popped up when KRDO asked followers of its Facebook page about pot profiling. Among the responses:

"Got pulled over in Illinois for having Colorado plates. They searched my truck and trailer."

"Yes at Rolla, Missouri. And not only do the cops pull you over, every pot head around asks us to sell to them when they see your plates."

Apparently, it's not only the police who are profiling Colorado cars these days.

Here's the Fox31 package about Roseen's lawsuit.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa March 2013: "Marijuana profiling of Colorado cars happened to me twice in one trip, says Westword writer."

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70 comments
ronsupe
ronsupe

This has happened to me twice now, once in Wyoming, and again in Texas.  Both times I was pulled over for a Colorado license plate.  Both officers claimed I was speeding.  I was doing 78 mph on I-25 when the Wyoming police decided "they had seen enough".  I was forced to travel back to Casper, Wyoming for court date and pay over $300.


Texas was a far worse situation.  The officer claimed I was going 31 mph through a school zone.  TOTAL GARBAGE, I was moving with traffic and he wedged in behind be because of the license plate.  They called in SIX officers to empty out and search my vehicle.  They did find marijuana... A Misdemeanor infractions worth of it, which they then promptly put me in jail and strip searched me.  For A Misdemeanor.....  A Strip Search And Jail For A Misdemeanor!  


I wanted to dispute the speeding infraction and tell the officer he was profiling me, but I thought about how many police officers get away with beating people to death so I kept my mouth shut.


The whole town of Dumas, Texas got paid that day.  $250 to the bali bondsman, $250 to the impound, $130 for a the bogus speeding ticket, $525 for paraphernalia, and I still have to go back to court.  I'll be lucky if I get back there without being pulled over 6 times.


Meanwhile, every mobile meth lab and truck full of illegals headed to Colorado passed right by thanking me.  


This is total nonsense, taking care of the real hardcore drug/human trafficking that takes place in Texas would take Real police work so they've decided to take the easy/lazy route and bust Coloradans for passing through.


Stay classy police......

mercerskicam
mercerskicam

Just got back from a two week road trip from Colorado to California. Yep, we were just pulled over in Nevada driving from Lake Tahoe, CA to Park City, UT. I was driving a mini van with CO plates.


I saw the cop and made sure my speed was good. He was sitting in the median hitting people with the speed gun. He saw my plates and pulled out after us. Followed us for a little while. I was right on the speed limit. It seemed like he wanted to pass because he was right on our tail, so I switch to the slow lane. He pulled up next to us, looked in my driver side window. Saw a couple guys in there late 20's, hit his brakes and pulled us over.


The reason: defective brake light. He literally sniffed into our windows like a dog. I'm sure the smell of beef jerky fueled farts wasn't too pleasant. He asked us if we had drugs, looked at all the stuff in our van, questioned if drugs were in any of our bags and why we even had bags. Eventually he ended up running my license and plates. I came back clean and he had me test the brake lights. Well now apparently they worked perfectly fine. So then he said he also couldn't see my license plate? He had me come out and look at it. I was expecting a bunch of dirt from the drive to be caked on the rear plate, but it was completely clean from the rain we hit earlier in the day. So I was pulled over for no reason.


Couldn't be prouder to be from CO after that interaction.

Matt Porter
Matt Porter

Was pulled over in Globe, AZ. Officer told me I was speeding, but I was doing 48 in a 55 just getting up to speed. Had me get out of car and answer battery of questions trying to trip me up.

Katherine Anderson Carpenter
Katherine Anderson Carpenter

That's why i hate Nevada. Prostitution and gambling are legal but for the love of god don't smoke a joint.

WashingtonTraveler
WashingtonTraveler

Profiling and stereotyping as law enforcement tools are controversial practices of questionable legality. Racial and ethnic profiling to apprehend criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists are perhaps the most common use of this tool. Apparently, the Idaho State Patrol has another group that is commonly the target of profiling. Tourists! Yes, tourists, specifically tourists visiting Idaho’s cities and towns to attend festivals and celebrations that represent the local flavor and culture in these communities.


While traveling southbound on US 95 last June near the town of Cambridge I crested a hill and saw three (3) ISP vehicles gathered at a turnout at the summit. A patrol car immediately pulled out and closely followed our camper van for about 2 – 3 miles before we were pulled over. As the trooper approached my open window, there was an odd look of disappointment on his face. I can only guess that he was expecting to encounter a cloud of smoke wafting from my van and a Cheech and Chong type of experience. In fact, what the trooper found was a middle aged, professional, married couple on their way to an old time fiddle contest.


Sternly, but not rudely the trooper asked for and was given the usual documentation and went back to the patrol car. Only after verifying that I was not a “bad guy” did he return to our car and explain why we were stopped. At that time we were informed that in Idaho it is illegal to have an obstructed rear license plate. My response to this message was a simple interrogative….”What???” The trooper then simply repeated his statement regarding an obstructed rear license plate. After pondering my infraction I finally realized he was referring to our bicycles that were mounted on a standard, legal, available anywhere bike rack. I asked “my bikes” to which he simply said yes sir.


Even after stopping us and realizing that we were breaking no laws and posing no threat to anyone, the trooper could have told us about the license plate and said good day. Instead, we were detained on the side of the road for over 30 minutes on a hot Sunday afternoon while we were checked, re-checked and lectured.

Admittedly, our bikes partially obscure the plate from some viewpoints, but the license plate can be seen and read from several angles at some distance from our car. Knowing that our license plate is readable from the rear leaves only a single reason for our being stopped. We were profiled because we were driving a camper van toward a town with a well known musical event.


Idahoans need to know how their law enforcement officers are treating visitors to their state. And if this is happening to out of state drivers, it can happen to them. In these days of terrorism, rampant crime and local methamphetamine factories, doesn’t the Idaho State Patrol have more important missions to perform than to randomly stop obvious tourists?


Profiling; it’s not just for terrorists anymore. 

Pheenix Wonder
Pheenix Wonder

what DOES a "pot smuggler" look like? Maybe they do! I mean it was very popular in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's also the 2000's. so I guess age wouldn't really make or break it.

William James Graves
William James Graves

State patrol and the police are the real thugs and law breakers...above the law. They are breaking our constitutional rights everyday. Illegal search and seizure. They don't care.

Justin Harned
Justin Harned

Yup. Spent an hour in the front seat of a highway patrol officers car in Nebraska while he questioned everyone in the car individually about what we were doing driving through Nebraska. It was unreal. Cop was nice, but it was still profiling and we had done nothing wrong.

Robert Lucero
Robert Lucero

In michigan got my car tore up by dogs cuz of my liscence plates, Colorado is bein profiled aroun da world, I got fam in Australia and England , we're profiled more than Amsterdam

Taber Olson
Taber Olson

My friend was pulled over on I 80 in Nebraska . The cop got the dogs and everything.. He was legit ,doesn't even drink.

Ryan Wright
Ryan Wright

don't run late either you may be detained for a couple hours while you put your torn off door panels back on after the car search.

Scott Ingalsbe
Scott Ingalsbe

Don't have weed when leaving the state and you have nothing to worry about. Duh

John Donohoe
John Donohoe

They look like smuglers to me probably trying to make some gambling money

Sophia Carbajal
Sophia Carbajal

My younger brother was out of town on business and he was driving a rental car from here to Iowa to Chicago and back. He was pulled over 3 times for no apparent reason except that he had Colorado plates. He said one of the officers straight up asked him if he had any weed in his car.

Marc Bayes
Marc Bayes

One more reason to love this state.

Andy Keller
Andy Keller

Happened to me in the early '90's. The officer straight up told me he looks for CO and MI plates, this was in Illinois.

Stan Salazar
Stan Salazar

I find it hard to believe someone would be detained for 48 hours with no reason.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Stupid fascists! Idaho's highwaymen must really be out of control to try this stunt on a 69-year-old corporate executive who never used cannabis, not that it would be any more appropriate to pull on a twenty-five year-old who does. May he win a judgement that gives the ISP pause before it does this again; may citizens defend themselves against these illegal depredations using any means necessary!

Patrice Garcia
Patrice Garcia

Happened to us in Kansas. We were detained for 48 hours and let go with no charges, not even a ticket for speeding, which was the excuse they used to pull us over. Be careful driving anywhere out of state with Colorado plates.

Jason Barringer
Jason Barringer

Cops profile however they please. That is the issue, not whether your black, white, young, or old.

Matty Durgin
Matty Durgin

another fundraiser angle. drive safe CO! because the whole world knows if you have a CO license plate - you're automatically SMUGGLING?

Michael Fenstermaker
Michael Fenstermaker

I was pulled over in Nebraska. Cop said I was speeding in a construction zone. Yet no ticket. Just a piece of paper saying this is a warning for going this such speed (did not specify how fast I was going) in a blank speed zone (did not specify the speed limit either)...if my car smelled I am sure they would have wanted to search.

Kevin A. Mahmalji
Kevin A. Mahmalji

I brought this issue up a few weeks ago on a conference call and it was dismissed as a nonissue. Keep up the anti-diversion talking points and this is what you'll get. A bunch of cowboy cops in neighboring states hell bent on making a case for their underfunded police department to have a shot at Colorado's anti-diversion Grant money. Cool, you want a diversion problem? We got you covered.

Jason Barringer
Jason Barringer

No, it is not defined by age. It's not defined by race either.

Brian Blosser
Brian Blosser

If I was a cop in Surrounding States, I would be stopping the out of staters coming out of Colorado rather than Colorado plates. Easy solution is to NOT have anything in the car and Consent. Video the interaction and file a complaint in the appropriate State Attorney's Office.

Jodus Barth
Jodus Barth

To me they look no older than el chopo

Jodus Barth
Jodus Barth

So Jason is smuggling is defined by age. How stupid

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

It would be nice to hang cops like that -- legally, of course.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... neither the driver nor the passengers are required to answer any of those questions, and answering them "incorrectly" in the warped mind of the cop merely gives him "reasonable suspicion" to declare that criminal activity may be present, and thereby search the car legally, and/or bring a K9 dog onto the scene.






michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Justin. We're going to feature them in an upcoming Comment of the Day roundup. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Quite the take, Robert. We're going to include it in an upcoming Comment of the Day roundup. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... the cops never make note of or record how many times their K9 dogs are WRONG at signalling for drugs, thereby maintaining in court that a K9 indication is an accurate "probable cause".



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Wow. We're going to include your story in an upcoming Comment of the Day post. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Scott Ingalsbe  ... you really are dumber than a bucket of dirt, aren't you?

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

A lot of stories like this one, Sophia. We're going to include it in an upcoming Comment of the Day roundup. Thanks for weighing in.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Well trace, if that was a conscious play, good job.  Gotta love the double entendre.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... welcome to Amerikkka!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks, Patrice. We're going to include your story in an upcoming Comment of the Day post. Much appreciated.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Another routine stop and sniff

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

You would have made a great nazi.  Keep bending over and consenting to the violation of your rights, property, and body.  Karma says a body cavity search is in your future....enjoy!  You'd consent to a rectal search, right Brian Blosser?  After all, you've got nothing to hide and want to be an obedient, submissive citizen/victim...

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