Trooper finds 89 pounds of pot stuffed in box springs

2012-11-17T06:00:00Z Trooper finds 89 pounds of pot stuffed in box springsAndrea J. Cook Journal staff Rapid City Journal
November 17, 2012 6:00 am  • 

Four California men arrested Thursday with 89 pounds of marijuana hidden inside two box spring mattresses are facing up to 30 years in prison for drug distribution and possession.

Bond was set Friday at $150,000 for Thai Yang, the driver of an SUV with a U-Haul trailer that was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 90 east of Rapid City by a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper.

While questioning Yang, the trooper learned that the Sacramento man was driving a vehicle and pulling a rented U-Haul trailer that had been rented on Nov. 11 in Merced by Pheng Vang and was due back Nov. 25.

After receiving Yang’s consent to search the U-Haul, a drug-detection dog indicated it detected the smell of marijuana. A search of the U-Haul revealed junk items from Goodwill and two box spring mattresses with false compartments stuffed with marijuana.

During the search, the trooper saw a second vehicle with Arizona license plates drive past the scene of the arrest in a manner that aroused his suspicion. A second trooper pursued and stopped the vehicle carrying three men from Merced.

The men in the other vehicle were arrested in connection with the pot bust. Bond was set at $500,000 for Pao Chous Vang, 34, and $150,000 each for Chue Vang, 55, and Seng Vang, 26.

It was later learned that Pao Chous Vang was arrested last month in Texas carrying 172 pounds of marijuana. He had been released on bond when he was arrested in South Dakota.

According to court documents, the marijuana was headed for distribution in St. Paul, Minn.

It was the second large pot bust of the week in Pennington County. On Monday, a Colorado man was charged with having 99 pounds of marijuana in a car reportedly bound for Colorado.

Contact Andrea Cook at 394-8423 or

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(11) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - November 20, 2012 3:56 pm
    Agree 100%.

    I think we should legalize it and tax the heck out of it.
  2. Dogwoman
    Report Abuse
    Dogwoman - November 18, 2012 6:47 pm
    Treat them worse than murderers is your solution? The crime against humanity that is the war against marijuana does nothing to stop people from using it, but it does kill countless hundreds of thousands in drug wars, and ruins lives by sending otherwise law-abiding people to prison for how many human-life-hours lost God only knows. Plus having the criminality attatched to marijuana prevents us from developing the medicinal part of it. We could legalize it, control it like alcohol to take the criminal element out of it- and keep our teenagers away from criminals, and tax it for revenue. The sane answer.
  3. Dogwoman
    Report Abuse
    Dogwoman - November 18, 2012 9:08 am
    Marijuana is not going to be kept off the "streets." The streets have been full of marijuana for the past 50 years at least, and making this plant illegal obviously isnt going to stop that. I guess it provides job security for law enforcement and supports the FDA that would rather have us take the extremely dangerous legal drugs for their own profits. For every dumb drug carrier that gets caught because he forgot to fix his car or drive legally, how many do you suppose are getting through that thought of those things? This plant, marijuana, needs to be decriminalized and regulated YESTERDAY.
  4. humpty dumpty
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    humpty dumpty - November 18, 2012 7:17 am
    actually, if we fed them balognie sandwiches, no tv, and just put them down if they were going to be older than 65 when they got out of jail, it would solve a lot of problems.
  5. BrayGus
    Report Abuse
    BrayGus - November 18, 2012 4:47 am
    I wonder how many innocent people are inconvenienced vs number of plant related arrests.

    When I first moved to Rapid City in 2009 I was driving an SUV with west coast tags and was pulled over maybe 10 times in the month I was waiting for my SD new plates. Always told I was speeding (usually I wasn't and when I do I am never more than 5mph over the limit) and that I needed to come clean about when I last smoked pot and how must I had in my vehicle. Needless to say I never had any in my vehicle or system which wasn't what they wanted to hear so they'd go on to comment about how my eyes looked strange. Needless to say I haven't been pulled over since I put on the new plates 3 years ago.

    Congrats SDHP 1 bust per several thousand innocent inconvenienced citizens isn't bad. We should use your efficiency as a model for the nation.
  6. Jim Stewart
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    Jim Stewart - November 18, 2012 12:18 am
    The prohibition on drugs is as useless and wasteful as the alcohol prohibition of the previous century.
  7. ZAR
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    ZAR - November 17, 2012 10:54 pm
    Yeah TW, lets make fun of wasitng our states treasue on some moron hauling a weed ( any plant that is out of place, according to my 4H teachings)
    I suppose you are also in favor of a life sentance for this wannabe business man ,,into our states pennitentiary , what does that run TW, something loke 30 k per year per inmate? Yeah lets keep paying for his room and board, ohh and don't forget if he has a family we get to pay for them as well, seeing as h0w he cant feed or shelter them, guess what TW, we offer the poor families of inmates free room and board,
    I Hope this is some food for thought for a conservative such as youself wouldn't you agreee?
  8. Coolidge
    Report Abuse
    Coolidge - November 17, 2012 8:53 pm
    Thank you for getting this stuff before it made its way to the streets. Job well done!
  9. FROGGY47
    Report Abuse
    FROGGY47 - November 17, 2012 8:14 pm
    Lesson 1 in transporting illegal drugs: Make sure your plates are up-to-date.
    Lesson 2: Make sure that your car is in perfect working order; no broken lights, no cracked windows, all turn signals work, etc.
    Lesson 3: DON'T SPEED.

    Sigh. When will they ever learn? :-)
  10. TWeatherford
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    TWeatherford - November 17, 2012 10:56 am
    When will they ever learn. If they would use vehicles with Wyoming plates or Pennington county plates they would likely never be pulled over, judging by personal observation of the driving habits of those two demographics.
  11. BillPilgrim
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    BillPilgrim - November 17, 2012 10:36 am
    The people of Minnesota are grateful to the people of South Dakota for the arrest, trial, and incarceration costs associated with these St. Paul-bound criminals.
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