I-90 traffic stop yields 20 pounds of pot wrapped like Christmas gifts
An Illinois man has denied a felony drug charge stemming from an I-90 traffic stop last month in which police allegedly found 20 pounds of marijuana wrapped like Christmas presents in his vehicle.
Nicholas Thorton Walker, 37, appeared in 22nd Judicial District Court recently and pleaded not guilty to felony criminal possession with intent to distribute, felony use of property subject to criminal forfeiture and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
The forfeiture charge involves Walker’s pickup truck, which authorities allege was used to haul the drugs.
Walker posted $25,000 and is allowed to travel to Colorado, Arizona, Michigan and Illinois for work purposes.
According to court documents, Walker was stopped on I-90 by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper on Dec. 11, 2017, at 11:35 a.m. for speeding and despite four attempts, dispatchers could not find a record of the truck’s license number. Walker could not find his registration, but showed the trooper his insurance information on his cell phone. At that point, the trooper noticed that Walker had two cell phones, according to court documents.
Walker told the trooper he worked for an IT company and was enroute from Seattle to Chicago. When asked if he had a criminal history, Walker initially said no, but then admitted to being arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in college. The trooper noted that as the conversation progressed, Walker’s breathing became heavier. The trooper eventually determined that Walker’s criminal history included felony drug charges in 1998 and 2000, as well as a DUI in 2002, according to court documents.
No registration could ever be found for the truck, but the trooper told Walker he was not going to write him any citations for the traffic stop. Instead, the trooper told Walker he was suspicious of him due to this false reporting of his criminal history, his heavy breathing and being in possession of two cell phones.
Walker refused a request to allow the trooper to search the truck. A K9 was brought to the scene and “alerted” to the presence of drugs, according to court documents. A search warrant was obtained, and found in the truck were two Christmas packages containing approximately 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as a plastic baggie of methamphetamine.