Aneudy Gonzalez forced to spend close to a month jail after contents of truck confiscated
In this week’s edition of can law enforcement tell the difference between cannabis and hemp, sadly, the answer remains: No, not really.
After seizing what police thought was 3,000 pounds of pot in December, proudly showing it off on Facebook and jailing Aneudy Gonzalez for a month, Texas troopers were left red-faced when the felony drug possession charge was dropped. According to KCBD, Gonzalez’s U-Haul truck was loaded with hemp — a federally legal product — and not cannabis.
Court documents reveal Gonzalez was also stopped in Arizona on his journey from California to New York, but was allowed to continue on his way when police there determined the load to be hemp.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in Texas, however, testified that he was unaware of Texas House Bill 1325, which explains hemp regulations, and should likely be required reading in that line of work. The officer further said he thought the limit for THC in the plant was .03 per cent and not 0.3, the actual amount dictated by law.
Daniel Mehler, Gonzalez’s lawyer, released a statement and said his client intends to sue. “Today we beat the feds,” Mehler Cannabis wrote in a Facebook post. “We maintained from the word ‘go’ that all he had was hemp, and this morning, the U.S. government moved to dismiss the charges against our client.”
Mehler said they want the hemp returned and for Gonzalez to be compensated for the time he lost while sitting in jail. “I was just doing my job and the government threw me in jail for almost a month,” Gonzalez told Law 360.
“I fully intend on pursuing justice, whatever that entails. Nobody has apologized to me. Somebody owes me an apology.”
The Department of Public Safety defended its actions in a statement. “Based upon the trooper’s training and experience, he believed the plant material to be marijuana, which warranted further investigation,” it reads.
The trooper contacted DEA for assistance, it adds. “The trooper arrested Mr. Gonzalez, and following further questioning by a DEA Task Force Officer, the DEA Officer adopted the investigation and took custody of Mr. Gonzalez and all evidence.”
But in a time of elevated skepticism of law enforcement, Mehler said he was stunned by his client’s treatment, adding that there was no probably cause to detain him at all. “They were very quick to trumpet the arrest on social media as if this was a massive marijuana bust, to slander our client as a marijuana trafficker and not an innocent man in America just trying to earn a living,” he said.
“Just to be clear, I have nothing but respect for the federal government and the way the agents have conducted themselves. They were very forthright and very respectful, but they weren’t clear on what the law is and the idea that we’re going to arrest people and sort it out later is — that’s not how any of this works.”
Gonzalez has since been reunited with his family in New York. He might want to stay off the roads for a while.
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Written by David Yasvinski