By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Two men face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine after being stopped near Interstate 40 and Morgan Road with about 1,000 cannabis plant stems in their vehicle.
Poteau’s Phongthep Tiger Chuaiduang, 40, and Douglas City, Calif.’s Phoukhong Vongmixay, 48, were charged Oct. 18 in Canadian County District Court with endeavoring to cultivate a controlled dangerous substance.
Assistant District Attorney Austin T. Murrey alleges Chuaiduang and Vongmixay on May 19 violated state law “by knowingly transporting approximately 1,000 cannabis plant stems and growing plants, botanically known as cannabis sativa L” from a controlled dangerous substance listed in Oklahoma’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.
Chuaiduang and Vongmixay appeared Nov. 16 at an initial arraignment before District Judge Jack D. McCurdy.
A preliminary hearing conference for both defendants is set Jan. 5, 2022, before Special Judge Khristan K. Strubhar. Their attorney is William McLaughlin of Oklahoma City.
Chuaiduang and Vongmixay were arrested early May 19 after Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Tanner Eads stopped a 2020 Toyota Corolla on I-40 near Morgan Road in eastern Canadian County.
Allegations against the two men are detailed in a probable cause affidavit filed with the felony charge in district court.
HEADED TO THE ‘FARM’
Trooper Eads asked the driver, Chuaiduang, to step out of the vehicle.
“While talking to Chuaiduang, I observed criminal behavior and inconsistent travel plans as they were driving from California to Oklahoma,” Eads wrote in the affidavit.
The trooper approached the car again to speak with Vongmixay, the passenger, who said they were going “to a farm.”
“Vongmixay later stated he worked for a marijuana farm,” according to Eads’ affidavit. “I asked him if he had any marijuana in the vehicle and he stated ‘yes’ and that it was in the trunk.”
Chuaiduang also confirmed there was marijuana in the vehicle’s trunk.
With probable cause to search the car, trooper Eads found a “big tub of approximately 1,000 marijuana stems used for ‘cloning’ and … two marijuana plants planted in soil.”
Chuaiduang and Vongmixay were arrested and booked into the Canadian County Jail for cultivation of marijuana. Both men were released after posting a $10,000 bond.