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TRAFFIC STOP NETS $5K IN MARIJUANA

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By SCOTT GRAVES

Pilot Staff Writer

A Brookings man was arrested on multiple felony and misdemeanor drug charges Thanksgiving Day after a police officer found more $5,000 worth of freshly harvested marijuana in his car.

It wasn't the first drug offense for Brandon Chase Kanna, 19. Less than two weeks earlier, he pleaded guilty on a charge of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana and paid a $694 fine. An ounce of marijuana equals 28.34 grams.

More than 130 grams of the drug were found in Kanna's car when Brookings Police Sgt. Clint Crane searched it following a traffic stop on Ransom Avenue behind Kalmiopsis Elementary School.

Crane said he pulled Kanna over for multiple traffic violations at 3:15 Thanksgiving Day.

When Crane contacted Kanna, the officer could smell the overwhelming odor of marijuana coming from Kanna and his clothing.

"He was obviously baked," Crane said.

Kanna surrendered a small baggie of the drug, saying it was all he possessed.

After failing a field sobriety test, Kanna was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana. The two passengers in Kanna's car admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the traffic stop, Crane said.

The passengers were released, but Crane said he expected to be contacting them again pending further investigation.

During the traffic stop, Crane was joined by fellow officer Gerald Kesseler. When Crane opened the car door, he spotted a large plastic bag on the driver's side floorboard containing what he estimated to be about 130 grams of freshly harvested marijuana, with an estimated street value of more than $5,000.

Items seized along with the drug included drug paraphernalia, a gram weighing scale, drug packaging material and a large amount of cash, Crane said.

After seizing items that were located in plain view, the officers secured the vehicle, a 1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse recently purchased by Kanna, and had it towed to the Brookings Police Department parking lot.

Using a search warrant obtained with the help of fellow officer Ron Plaster, Crane and Officer Same Dotson searched the vehicle on Friday for more drugs and drug-related evidence.

Additional evidence found included another gram or so of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and drug packaging and distribution items.

Crane said he expects more arrests will be made in connection with the case based on information and leads that are being investigated.

Crane also believes the marijuana found in the car was recently harvested, possibly from a marijuana garden hidden in the area.

He said Kanna is facing felony drug charges because he was within 1,000 feet when his car was stopped. Kanna is likely to face felony and misdemeanor charges including possession, distribution and sale of marijuana, Crane said.

Information gathered in the case will be forwarded to the Curry County District Attorney's office for prosecution purposes, he said.

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