[Ed note: The bustee’s name has been changed since no charges were filed against him.]
Arrest/investigation report, August 8, 2014.
Location: Southbound Highway 101 North of Nelson Ranch Road near Hopland.
Arrestee: James B. Teknes, San Diego, a white male, age 27. Driving a rental car.
Report of Arresting CHP Officer: C. Ramsey
On August 8, 2014 at approximately 9:25 AM I was traveling northbound on US 101 north of Lake Mendocino Drive in the number two lane. I was driving a fully marked California Highway Patrol vehicle. The patrol car was equipped with an Applied Concepts Inc. DSR radar system unit #BS041956. I checked the function of the radar system prior to beginning my shift and it was working properly. The radar system was independently calibrated on August 12, 2013.
My attention was drawn to the suspect's vehicle, a white Ford Focus. The Focus appeared to be traveling well over the maximum speed of 65 mph. I visually estimated the vehicle to be traveling approximately 85 mph. I activated the patrol car's rear radar antenna and obtained a high-pitched steady Doppler tone consistent with my visual estimation. I looked at the reading on the radar and it indicated a speed of 86-87 miles per hour, a violation of the California Vehicle Code. The Focus maintained its speed and continued southbound on US 101. I made a U-turn through the break in the cable center median barrier North of Parducci Road and gave chase to the vehicle. I contacted Officer Hosford and advised him of the incident and the description of the vehicle. I caught up with the vehicle south of Talmage road. The vehicle would catch up to slower traffic and follow too closely. Traffic ahead of the vehicle would merge into the #2 lane and the vehicle would pass and gain speed. Officer Hosford parked on southbound 101 at Burke Hill and stood by for the vehicle. After the vehicle passed Officer Hosford, he related that the vehicle was traveling at 83 mph as it approached his location. North of Nelson Ranch Road I initiated an enforcement stop and the vehicle came to a stop in the dirt turnout north of Nelson Ranch Road. Officer Hosford came to a stop and parked behind me.
I made a right side approach on the vehicle and contacted the driver through the open passenger window. I advised him of the reason for the stop and requested his driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. The driver was identified as James P. Teknes. He was driving a rental car and he did not have any other documents. As I stood at the open passenger’s window I could smell a slight odor of marijuana emanating from within the vehicle. I asked Teknes if he had marijuana in the vehicle. Teknes stated, "No." I asked Teknes if anyone recently had been in the vehicle that may have had marijuana and he stated, "No." I returned to my patrol car and officer Hosford contacted Teknes in the passenger window and he smelled the odor of marijuana in the vehicle. Officer Hosford asked Teknes if he had a Proposition 215 card and Teknes stated "No." I asked Teknes if he had a 215 card and he stated, "No."
I advised Teknes that due to the odor of marijuana in the vehicle I was going to search the vehicle. I had Teknes get out of the vehicle. I searched his person and I did not locate marijuana or any other contraband on his person. I placed Teknes in the right rear seat of my patrol car and searched the vehicle.
I located a gray-blue-green backpack in the trunk. The backpack contained two black heat-sealed bags containing processed marijuana. The backpack also contained two small bottles of concentrated cannabis, a blue pill bottle with processed marijuana and corncob pipe and a glass jar with processed marijuana. The backpack also contained Teknes’s physician’s recommendation. I also located a cardboard box that was taped closed. The box contained a black plastic garbage bag. Inside the garbage bag was turkey bags containing processed marijuana. Based on how these bags of marijuana were packaged it is my opinion that they were packaged to conceal their odor and packaged for sales. I located Teknes’s cellphone on the driver's seat next to the center console. Based on my experience and training I know that cellphones are a common tool used to facilitate drug sales. I took possession of the cellphone.
Based on Teknes lying about not having marijuana, not having a recommendation for marijuana and how the marijuana was packaged I formed the opinion that Teknes was transporting the marijuana for sales. While Teknes was seated in the right rear seat of my patrol car I advised him that he was under arrest for marijuana possession for sale. I advised Teknes of his Miranda rights at 9:58am and he stated in, "Yes." He said he was willing to talk about this incident.
I asked Teknes the following questions.
Q: When I asked you if you had a 215 card what did you say?
A: No, just to avoid confrontation.
Q: When I asked you if you had marijuana in the car you said, "No." Why did you say that?
A: Just to avoid confrontation. Because I don't have marijuana that I'm smoking currently and it's not something illegal. It's all under the code.
Q: Then why would you say that you don't have marijuana or a 215 card when it's legal?
A: Because I just didn't want to, you know, that's how it is. I just did not want to go to that point if I did not have to. I was just trying to be cool.
Q: Just trying to be cool? The cool thing would be to be honest with us.
I had Teknes get out of the patrol car and I handcuffed him. After he was handcuffed I placed him back into the right rear seat of my patrol car.
I asked the following questions.
Q: Where did you obtain the marijuana?
A: By Shelter Cove.
Q: From a dispensary or just off some other guy?
A: Off a cannabis, you know, user, medical as well.
Q: Where do you live?
A: I live in San Diego.
Q: You drove all the way up here to buy marijuana?
A: Yes, because it is the best medicine. It's still in California and under the same code.
Q: So there is different grades of medicine?
A: Of course.
Q: So the stuff they sell in San Diego is different than they sell up here?
A: Of course.
Q: What are you looking for in medicine?
A: Just healing properties.
Q: And what would those be?
A: For myself or…?
Q: What are the healing properties?
A: Well there are a million healing properties.
Q: I asked you two or three times now, you can't name one. Name one.
A: Okay, arthritis, pain, sleep apnea, ADHD, asthma; there are a hundred properties and stuff for it. My medical reasons are for certain surgeries, I had injuries, sleep apnea.
Q: What kind of doctor prescribed it to you?
A: My doctor.
Q: The doctor who did the surgeries?
A: No. Not the doctor who did the surgery, the medical marijuana doctor.
Q: How about your general physician, did he prescribe it?
A: She's a physician.
Q: No, the one that diagnosed your issues and gave you the surgeries, did they prescribe it?
A: I don't have a doctor. I don't have insurance.
Q: Somebody gave you surgeries or did surgeries on you.
A: Right, when I had insurance. I don't any longer.
Q: They did not prescribe marijuana for you?
A: No, they did not.
Q: Did you ask them?
A: I did not actually.
Q: Why not?
A: Because I did not take anything for anything. I did not take pills. I'm allergic to Vicodin. I don't take any of those pain pills or any of that crap. It's my personal preference, I just don't. I'm not a drug user. I really don't like pills in general.
Q: What if they made a marijuana pill, would you take it?
A: They do make it a pill. No, I wouldn't because I like the stuff that grows in the ground. Because I know where it's from and I know it's organic and it is just one of those things.
Q: You know where it's from, you buy it from a guy in Shelter Cove and you know where it was grown?
I transported Teknes to the Ukiah CHP office and interviewed him further and the following is a summary of our conversation:
I asked Teknes if he knew how many pounds of marijuana was in his vehicle. He related that there was a little less than 3 pounds. On August 1, 2014, Teknes traveled from San Diego to Reggae on the River in Humboldt County. He attended the concert and met a guy there. Teknes described this guy as a white male with brown hair in his 30s. Teknes would not or could not remember this guy's name. Teknes attended the concert for a couple of days and made friends with this guy. He then drove to Shelter Cove and camped by himself on Wednesday. Teknes was unable to tell me where he camped. He did not know the location or any landmarks near the area where he was camping. While camping in Shelter Cove he happened to run into the guy who he made friends with at the concert. This guy gave him two bags of marijuana and a cardboard box. Teknes did not know what was in this box. On August 7, 2014 he began his trip back to San Diego.
Teknes claimed that his recommendation and the doctor who gave him his recommendation said that he could have 99 marijuana plants and 4 pounds of marijuana. I read the exact recommendation and this was not stated on the recommendation. I aked Teknes if he discussed the risk of using marijuana with a doctor who gave him the recommendation and he stated, "No."
I transported Teknes to the Mendocino County Jail. While traveling to the jail Teknes inquired about his cellphone. I advised Teknes that his cellphone was being held for evidence. He asked me what kind of evidence? I explain the evidence that may be on his cellphone, and he asked me, "If I let you look at my phone and you don't find any evidence on it, could I keep my phone?" I answered, "Yes."
After arriving at the jail, I looked at a couple of text messages on Teknes’s cellphone. I found information indicative of drug sales. Teknes was looking over my shoulder while I looked through his messages. I had him explain some of the wording and/or codewords in his messages. Teknes was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a violation of health and safety section involving marijuana sales.
Evidence included: Two turkey bags with just over a pound processed bud marijuana each, vacuum sealed bag with turkey bag containing about a third of a pound of processed bud marijuana, three glass jars with concentrated cannabis and bud marijuana, blue pill bottle with 60 grams of bud marijuana, corncob pipe, and Samsung Galaxy cellphone.
While processing the evidence I noted that the two bags of marijuana that were located in the backpack were packaged in two bags. The outside bag was a black "shield and seal" and it was heat sealed. The inner bag was a clear turkey bag. This type of packaging is claimed to preserve the contents of the bag. However, based on my training and experience it is my opinion that double bagging the marijuana with these materials was to conceal the odor of the marijuana to avoid detection.
Based on Teknes initially lying about not having marijuana or a 215 card, how the marijuana was packaged and the text messages indicative of sales, I formed the opinion that the Teknes was in violation of the health and safety code regarding transportation and sale of marijuana.
I recommend that a copy of this investigation be sent to the Mendocino District Attorney's Office for review and that Teknes be charged with transportation for sales and possession for sales.
Physician’s statement and recommendation for Mr. Teknes dated June 5, 2014 through June 5, 2015 signed by Arnold S. Kramer, Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) in San Diego. The second page of the recommendation says “Pursuant to California health and safety code 11362.5 the purpose of this medical document is to identify this individual as a patient legally permitted to possess and cultivate 96 plants and possess 4 pounds of medical cannabis pursuant to California state law. This affirms the patient has been physically examined in our office and qualifies for the use of medical cannabis. The physician is board certified and licensed to practice medicine in the state of California. Risks and benefits have been discussed with the patient and understanding verbalized. This patient assumes responsibility for any and all risks associated with this treatment option. This patient hereby grants permission to discuss medical information for the purpose of verification. Void after expiration or if altered or misused.”