Friday, May 27, 2011

Arrested Leaving Laurens

One cold January night a young man left Laurens with a small amount of marijuana hidden in his car. He drove straight into the hands of the law. On May 24 he was sentenced to six months in the county jail. The sentence was suspended and replaced with probation.

He is 18-year-old Kevin Bergen of Albert City. He was stopped by sheriff deputy Brian Runneberg. According to court papers Runneberg pulled Bergen over as he was turning from N-28 toward Albert City because Runneberg "recognized the vehicle and had knowledge that the plates were expired." Deputy Runneberg also reported Bergen's car "has been parked at a known house in Laurens with drug activity."

Runneberg asked permission to search Bergen's car but Bergen initially declined, according to Runneberg's report of the incident. Later Bergen agreed to a search. Runneberg found no contraband. Nevertheless he impounded the car, telling Bergen "that since the vehicle wasn't registered to him and had no proof of insurance and expired plates that the vehicle was going to be towed." Later a dog found a "small" amount of marijuana in the air vent of the car.

Bergen's driver's license was suspended after his guilty plea to the misdemeanor crime of possession of marijuana. He has been ordered to pay court costs and to accept treatment from Community and Family Resources of Fort Dodge.

Iowa's court system spends about a million dollars a week on marijuana cases. An estimated 20% of young Iowa adults use marijuana every year.

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