Texas Man Arrested for Intent to Distribute Marijuana in Louisiana
Myvar Abdullah, a resident of Manvel, Texas, was arrested on August 1 well over state lines in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. A St. Martin trooper, Jared Sandifer, stopped Abdullah at 2:45 am. Nestled in a duffel bag in the car’s trunk was almost 50 pounds of marijuana, well over the amount considered suitable for personal use—or just a misdemeanor. Abdullah was arrested for intent to distribute marijuana, and there’s no word on whether or not he has an attorney. The 35-year-old Abdullah wasn’t technically caught by a regular officer, though. Once he was pulled over for “suspicious behavior” in his 2013 Nissan Maxima, a K-9 officer Shockey sniffed out what Louisiana police are calling narcotics. Shockey quickly uncovered the 46 pounds of marijuana, leading to Abdullah’s arrest. The narcotics-sniffing dog wasn’t put on duty until Abdullah refused a search of his car, which is perfectly legal—unfortunately for him, the utilization of K-9 dogs are also legal.
What Abdullah Might be Facing There’s some good news for Abdullah as he faces intent to distribute charges. In Louisiana, if a person possesses over 60 pounds of marijuana, they face “a term of imprisonment at hard labor of not less than five years,” and Abdullah slides in at well under the 50-pound mark. However, the marijuana laws in Louisiana are very tough. According to many experts, getting busted for marijuana in Louisiana might even be worse than getting caught in Texas. A CNBC report in 2010 listed Louisiana as the second worst state to get caught with marijuana, right on the heels of Florida. There’s a recent increase in the penalty for second-offense marijuana possession which may include hard labor depending in prior convictions. It’s unknown at this point whether or not Abdullah has any prior convictions. One political expert says that Louisiana “is not a culture where marijuana is accepted…it’s easy to be tough on crime.”
Did Abdullah Do the Right Thing When Pulled Over? Regardless of what Abdullah was allegedly packing in his trunk, he did act in his best interest when police asked to search his car. Getting pulled over can be scary and intimidating, even when a person has nothing to hide. However, it’s important that all Texans know their rights and have the knowledge to act in the best legal way to protect themselves. Keep in mind these rules for searches:
- It’s best to refuse a police search under the 4th Amendment at all times, unless crossing a border checkpoint or secure facility where searches are required.
- Refusing a search protects people if they are forced to go to court—police may search a vehicle anyway, but then most prove probable cause for the search.
- Simply saying no may be enough to stop a search.
- Searches can damage property and waste your time.
- Police may find something you forgot about or didn’t know about, leading to an arrest that could have been prevented.
People are taught from a very young age to depend on police officers for protection and not question authority. This is not the best perspective when facing a search. Abdullah’s refusal might just be his saving grace when he faces a judge.