Three out-of-state truckers — who originally faced felony marijuana trafficking charges for moving hemp through Ada County — will likely plead to misdemeanors, serve no more jail time, and remain on unsupervised probation, writes Idaho Press reporter Tommy Simmons. Those are the new terms of the plea agreements the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office negotiated with the truckers in recent days. The new stipulations to the plea agreements were filed late Tuesday afternoon.
Two of the truckers, Andrew D’Addario of Colorado and Erich Eisenhart, of Oregon, pleaded guilty in April to felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. The agreement means they will plead guilty to misdemeanors instead. They were arrested in April 2018 while transporting 915 hemp plants from Colorado, where hemp is legal, to Oregon, where the crop is also legal.
A trucker in another case, Denis Palamarchuk, was arrested in January while transporting 6,701 pounds of hemp from Oregon to Colorado on behalf Colorado-based Big Sky Scientific. He stopped at a port of entry in Ada County, and Idaho State Police arrested him. Prosecutors charged him with drug trafficking in marijuana, and he faced a mandatory minimum of five years in prison if convicted.
Under the new agreement, Palamarchuk agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor violation of trucking an improperly permitted load including a faulty bill of loading. Prosecutors agreed to recommend 180 days in jail for him, with 175 days suspended, and to ask he be given credit for five days already served. They agreed to ask for one year of unsupervised probation for him, plus a total of $2,360 in fines and restitution, plus court costs.
Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts in an official statement implored lawmakers to craft regulations for the interstate transport of industrial hemp.
“The State and defense teams have been working diligently to reach appropriate resolutions in these cases and have entered into the stipulated agreements filed in court today,” Bennetts’ statement reads. “The 2018 Farm Bill’s intent of allowing the interstate transportation of hemp will only be realized in Idaho once there is a regulatory system in place, which has not yet occurred in Idaho. It is our hope that such a regulatory system will be in place soon so those who would transport or ship through Idaho are not at risk of violating Idaho’s law.”
You can read Simmons' full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.