Man Pleads Guilty to Pot Trafficking Charge
A New York state man arrested after a trooper found 19 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle admitted Monday in Albany County District Court that he intended to sell the drugs when he returned to New York.
Barry William Connor, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. As part of a plea deal with Connor, the prosecution agreed to drop a possession charge and recommend a sentence of probation.
As with any plea agreement, the court may or may not go along with the recommendation. Judge Jeffrey Donnell could sentence Connor to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Connor was arrested with Zachary Sasz, also of New York state, during a Dec. 30 traffic stop at milepost 288 on Interstate 80 west of Laramie. The men were traveling from Las Vegas, Nev. to New York in a grey Volkswagen Tiguan, when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper stopped them for speeding.
According to the affidavit, the trooper became suspicious that the men were up to something besides speeding, so he brought out K-9 Frosty to give the vehicle a sniff. Frosty alerted, and the trooper searched the vehicle.
The trooper found two heat-sealed, one-pound packages of marijuana in a black garbage bag. A further search revealed 18 packages of marijuana weighing 19.34 pounds, a small baggie containing .8 grams of suspected cocaine, $1,374 in cash and five cell phones.
Connor said in court Monday that he and Sasz spent most of their trip in Reno, but bought the marijuana from someone he met at a blackjack table in Las Vegas.
Connor also said he was the “mastermind,” as Judge Jeffrey Donnell put it, and Sasz was simply the driver. Connor said Sasz was unaware of any illegal drugs in the vehicle until the traffic stop.
“He didn’t really know anything about it,” said Connor. Donnell was skeptical.
“How could you possibly go down the road with twenty pounds of marijuana in your car and not smell it?” asked Donnell.
Connor says the packages were sealed, and there was no odor in the vehicle.
“That’s called ‘nose-blind,’” said Donnell.
Connor lives with his mother in Clifton Park, N.Y. He remains free on bond pending sentencing.