DES MOINES, Iowa — On Tuesday, a Wisconsin woman’s traffic violation in Dallas County turned into much more than a citation.
“In this particular case the trooper noticed a traffic violation and ultimately stopped that vehicle for a traffic violation,” said Sergeant Alex Dinkla with the Iowa State Patrol.
Dallas County court documents show around 1:40 p.m. a trooper pulled over 52-year-old Margaret Gnewikow on I-80 heading eastbound near Desoto and noticed the entire back of her GMC Yukon vehicle with New Mexico license plates filled with duffel bags and boxes with the seats folded down and became suspicious.
Dinkla said, “A Dallas County deputy was available and had his K-9 and ended up doing a free air sniff of that vehicle.”
The dog alerted the officers to narcotics.
“That then gave probable cause to the trooper and officers to do a search of that vehicle. When they were looking in that vehicle they located a large amount of both marijuana and THC vape products,” Dinkla said.
In all, 130 pounds of raw marijuana and 71 pounds of THC vape cartridges were found concealed in those duffel bags. “Any time we come across any of these large amounts of narcotics and drugs that may be in a vehicle, it’s alarming,” said Dinkla.
Because of the initial traffic violation, the Iowa State Patrol says the sniff is legal. Dinkla said, “Ultimately the vehicle is in a public place and allows a certified K-9 to do a free air sniff of that vehicle.”
Gnewikow admitted to officers she picked up the product in California, a state where recreational marijuana is legal and was taking it to Wisconsin for a family member. “If you are going to choose to bring those products into Iowa you are going to face prosecution because it ultimately is illegal here in Iowa,” said Dinkla.
Gnewikow was booked into the Dallas County Jail and now faces charges of possession with intent to distribute and distributing without a tax stamp both felonies as well as prohibited acts. Dinkla said, “That speaks volumes to the investigation.”
The Iowa State Patrol was not able to reveal the type of traffic violation Gnewikow made to initiate the stop. Gnewikow’s arraignment is scheduled for March 20.