On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 9:45 a.m., a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy was traveling south on Interstate 5, just south of the Ashland interchange, when radar picked up a black, 2013 Toyota Avalon traveling northbound at 82 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone. The deputy was able to turn around, catch up to the vehicle, and initiate a traffic stop. There were three people inside the car. According to the three individuals, they were headed to Newport, Oregon from Fresno, California.
When the deputy made contact with the driver, he immediately noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. He asked the people inside the car if anyone had a medical marijuana card, and everyone said they did not. When asked what was in the car, only the driver provided a small baggy of marijuana from his pocket and a small envelope of marijuana from the front console area.
During the traffic stop, law enforcement was given permission to search the vehicle. Once law enforcement popped the hood of the car into the engine compartment, they saw what looked like paper sticking out of an area where it didn’t belong. Further investigation revealed the paper was actually garbage bags and inside those bags were numerous bags of marijuana. The marijuana found inside the car had a total weight of three pounds.
The driver, Samuel Merrill, 25, of North East Harbor, Maine, was arrested and charged with Manufacturing and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Merrill has since bailed out of the Jackson County Jail.
During the investigation, it was determined one of the passengers, Kyle Golden, 29, from Newport, Oregon, was wanted for a felony warrant out of Coos County. He was arrested and remains lodged in the Jackson County Jail.
The other passenger was released.