Purchase photos

Multiple charges possible in bust

6/4/2010

By JACK NICHOLL

By JACK NICHOLL

jnicholl@dailynews.net

A charter bus pulled over Wednesday morning in Trego County was found containing three illegal drugs and three kegs of beer.

Four suspects have been identified and arrests are pending probable cause from the county attorney, said Capt. Dan Meyer of the Kansas Highway Patrol's Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program in Topeka.

Meyer said 11 grams of LSD, approximately 41 grams of methamphetamine and 3 pounds of marijuana were found on the bus. Some of the marijuana was in the form of marijuana cookies, he said.

Meyer said the possession and consumption of the beer on a charter bus also is a violation, and he is also working with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

"There will be some civil sanctions, there will be some criminal action that will occur," Meyer said. "But right now we are anticipating probably four will be charged with various offenses occurring."

If passengers are charged, Meyer said, most everything will be related to transportation or distribution of illegal substances. He said the next step in the investigation is to meet with the county attorney to determine who to charge and what charges to file.

There were 36 passengers and two drivers on the bus, Meyer said.

A state highway trooper pulled the bus over at 9:02 a.m. It was traveling from Boulder, Colo., to Ozark, Ark., Meyer said, for the annual music and camping Wakarusa Festival.

The state trooper pulled the bus over with probable cause after seeing a passenger's head outside the window, Meyer said.

The officer smelled burning marijuana while approaching the bus and the search ensued from there.

The charter bus company itself, Bus Express, from Aurora, Colo., also was not authorized to cross state lines, Meyer said, which could lead to federal charges.

Meyer said a safety inspection of the vehicle revealed logbook violations that put the drivers and bus out of service.