If the AutoSlash team ran a drug syndicate, we would have a driving test for our drug mules. There would be two parts, both a written and road test. And there would be some automatic disqualifiers on the road portion of the test, namely an automatic fail for individuals who camp out in the passing lane for no valid reason. Aside from the fundamental act of smuggling drugs, the most common reason for arrests featured on Felony Friday has been an abject inability to "Keep Right Except to Pass". Yet these stories are humorous for our team due to the fact that arrests happen just about every week from a failure to exercise basic human decency on the highways!
It starts as another story out of Saline County, Kansas, again on the "Interstate with Greatest Number of Abjectly Boring Miles", with two individuals cruising in their rental 2018 Chevy Equinox carrying a suitcase full of drugs. And of course, these individuals decided to "Keep Left While the Only Vehicle on the Interstate at Midnight", which led to a deputy pulling over our protagonists. Some previous AutoSlash posts have gotten into the concept of "probable cause". At this point in time, the subjects were only facing a citation for "Keep Right Except to Pass" unless their vehicle reeked of drugs, the drugs were clearly visible, or some other transgression was apparent.
Yet a suitcase full of marijuana and drug paraphernalia make individuals do (even more) stupid things. The subjects instead decided to panic and fled the traffic stop. The Equinox was pulled over again a mile down the highway. Here, we have to applaud the driver of the Equinox -- stopping the police chase after a mile is probably the wisest decision the driver made. Given a Chevy Equinox in "rental car trim" (1.5L turbo in an SUV) and trailed by a police interceptor, the chase was certain to end within a few miles with the Equinox likely rolled over in a wheat, corn, soybean, or sorghum field (not a Kansas stereotype, as that's Kansas fact).
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high.
The police quickly got a warrant and found the 15 pounds of marijuana and evidence tying one of the occupants to the rental car. For more than 15 hours, that was the story with no subjects in sight. However, (former) Detroit resident Juan Carrasco-Cardenas had decided to effect the worst flee attempt in criminal history. Pulled over shortly after midnight -- in the dark and comparatively middle-of-nowhere -- he didn't get very far. Caught a half-mile from the scene at 3:40 p.m., he managed to cover fewer than 9 football fields in 15 hours, ineffectively "hiding" in the tree-line. Maybe there also needs to be a DMPFT (Drug Mule Physical Fitness Test) in addition to the written and driving tests ... or maybe Carrasco-Cardenas was just on temporary profile (some jokes for our military friends).
What's not temporary? His stay in the State of Kansas. We suspect it will be a while before he claims Detroit as his residence again ... The relatively minor charges (left-lane violation and trespassing) led to the apprehension on the not-so-minor charges (no Kansas drug tax stamp, possession of drug paraphernalia, interference with a law enforcement officer, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute).
The takeaways as always?
Step 1: Don't engage in criminal behavior with a rental car (or any car).
Step 2: If Step 1 is too much to ask, remember that small details matter when operating a criminal enterprise.