Activist Dana Beal Busted in Nebraska
New York marijuana activist Dana Beal has been arrested again in the Midwest, this time . Nebraska police apprehended Beal and two others in a van on Wednesday in Ashland near Interstate 80 (just West of Omaha) after the vehicle was stopped for driving erratically. Bail was set at $500,000.
Beal was last seen in San Francisco at the NORML Conference. Presumably, he was driving back from California when the bust took place.
The Cures Not Wars founder has had numerous run-ins with the law, the most recent of which came last June when Illinois authorities confiscated a small amount of marijuana and $150,000 from him. This past May, Beal pled guilty to the pot charge and paid a fine, but the cash was not returned.
Beal organizes the annual Global Marijuana March each May.
Drug Bust Nabs Marijuana Activist
from KETV Omaha, ABC
SAUNDERS COUNTY, Neb. -- Police officers in Ashland, Neb., seized 150 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Wednesday night on Highway 6.
The seizure was the largest in Saunders County history, said Ashland police.
Investigators say the record discovery was made late Wednesday, several miles away from Interstate 80..
I-80 has long been known to authorities as a drug pipeline, but as state and local law enforcement agencies step up enforcement efforts along the interstate, smugglers appear to be turning to back roads.
"They also come down the rural highways trying to avoid the interstate," Ashland Police Chief Mark Powell said.
That, he said, is exactly what one of his officers encountered near the city limits, miles away from the interstate.
He said the incident started when police stopped conversion van driving erratically. When the officer approached the van and saw several bags of marijuana in plain view, he called for assistance, police said.
Powell said multiple agencies responded to that call. The drugs were in duffel bags found throughout the vehicle, police said.
"Further investigation revealed 150 pounds of marijuana that was loaded inside the van," Powell said.
Ashland police said Saunders and Cass county sheriffs' deputies helped in the seizure.
Three men in the van were Christopher Ryan, Irvin Dana Beal and James Statzer.
All three are being held in Saunders County Jail and are suspected of drug possession with intent to deliver, officers said. They all face charges of possession with intent to deliver.
Beal is a political activist who has advocated for marijuana legalization in the U.S.
Powell said the bust is a reminder that I-80 isn't the only route on which authorities need to be alert for drug traffickers.
"Luckily, we have people around who are watching there, as well," Powell said.
Authorities said Ryan and Statzer are being held on $100,000 bond each. Beal is being held on $500,000 bond.
- Article from KETV Omaha, ABC