Aug. 4, 2010
MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING OPERATION ENDED WITH HIGHWAY PATROL STOP IN KANSAS
TOPEKA, KAN. – Two men were sentenced Wednesday to federal prison in a case that started with a traffic stop on Interstate 70 that turned up more than 650 pounds of marijuana.
Andrew Rutherford, 37, Shelby Township, Mich., was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison. Co-defendant Frank Lewis, 39, Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to 188 months. Both men pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. In his plea, Rutherford admitted he paid two women to drive a load of marijuana from Phoenix to Detroit. The women were stopped May 27, 2009, driving a Chevrolet Silverado and pulling a horse trailer on I-70 at mile post 328 in Wabaunsee County . Troopers found 659 pounds of marijuana in a locked storage compartment in the front of the horse trailer.
Investigators learned the women were working for Rutherford, who provided the pickup and trailer and promised to pay them $7,000 per trip. Lewis, who worked for Rutherford, too, helped make arrangements for the trips. On Aug. 2, 2009, Lewis and another man were stopped on I-70 in Foristel, Mo., with $269,580 in drug proceeds.
Co-defendants Karen Hutchinson, Jamie Bell, Lorenzo Benton and Marcel Pearl are awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch commended the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard for their work on the case.