FAIRMONT - A 51-year-old Park City, Utah, woman faces drug charges after 442 pounds of marijuana were allegedly found in a trailer she was hauling along I-90.
The street value of that amount of marijuana is estimated at more than $1 million.
According to information from the Minnesota State Patrol:
Shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday, a state trooper was on Interstate 90, near the Highway 15 exit at Fairmont, when he clocked a truck pulling a trailer exceeding the speed limit.
As the trooper followed the truck, he noticed it was crossing the center line and he stopped the vehicle.
The woman driving the truck was identified as Jill Nielsen. As the trooper spoke with her, he noticed signs of interstate criminal activity. Nielsen gave an address that was traced to a UPS store and box number, but her name came back with criminal convictions from California.
As the trooper questioned Nielsen more, her answers became more evasive and were not making sense. The trooper asked for consent to search Nielsen's vehicle. She was hesitant, but consented.
A Fairmont police K-9 drug dog was brought to the scene. It indicated the presence of narcotics.
A search of the vehicle turned up several bags that held large bundles of cash. Also found was identification for Nielsen that indicated she lives in Utah, along with items and devices used for drug trafficking.
Inside the trailer were 68 large packages of a substance confirmed to be marijuana. It was packaged for distribution. None of the packages had any tax stamps affixed. The total weight of the packages was 442 pounds.
Nielsen faces two first-degree drug charges, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
A charge of failure to affix tax stamps carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.