The two men said they had no drugs when the rental van they were driving was pulled over on Interstate 5 in Lakewood.
A Washington State Patrol trooper didn’t believe them.
Turns out the van had 29 pounds of marijuana stashed in the back.
Now, Pierce County prosecutors have charged Tommy White, 57, and Christopher Nelson, 35, with unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver. Both pleaded not guilty and are being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
The pair was arrested Nov. 25 as they traveled north on I-5 just south of state Route 512. A trooper noticed the van slow down, then accelerate while drifting into neighboring lanes.
White, who was driving, told the trooper he was tired because they’d driven from California and were heading home to Ketchikan, Alaska.
The men insisted there was no marijuana in the van but White later pulled a baggie of pot out of his pocket after the trooper continued to ask, trooper Guy Gill said Tuesday.
The trooper then asked to look in the back of the van.
Inside were 29 pounds of pot worth $300,000, according to charging papers. Also discovered in the van was hash oil, three cell phones and nearly $6,500 in cash.
White, who has prior drug convictions, told authorities he goes to California once a year to buy marijuana to sell to “old people” in Alaska, Gill said.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Alaska state troopers were involved in the investigation.