"Decoy driver" sentenced


July 18, 2019

Lee Her of California has been sentenced on several felony charges after allegedly acting as a “decoy driver” for a vehicle carrying 83 pounds of marijuana.

On March 15, 2018, at around 6 p.m., a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper observed two vehicles traveling eastbound on U.S. 212 that were close enough together he believed they were associated. According to court reports, both appeared to be rentals and were only occupied by the drivers.

A second trooper was paged and caught up to the vehicles, where he observed the rear vehicle traveling too closely to the first to allow a passing vehicle to occupy the space between them. The driver of the rear vehicle, with a Nevada license plate, allegedly began to drift back and forth in his lane.

Suspecting that the driver was acting as a “decoy” by attempting to get his attention so that he would stop him and disregard the vehicle in front, but observing no violations from the lead car, the trooper reports that he initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle because both were approaching the South Dakota line. The driver was identified as Her.

According to court reports, Her displayed symptoms of stress. He allegedly claimed to be traveling to Wisconsin and explained his failure to maintain a lane of travel as that he had been grabbing for a snack.

When asked who he was traveling with and who was in the lead vehicle, Her allegedly grew even more nervous and stated he was traveling alone. The rental agreement for the vehicle showed that it was rented in Sacramento, California on March 12 and was due back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 19.

Her was asked to exit his vehicle and sit in the front of the patrol car, but allegedly agreed only reluctantly. He allegedly declined to speak with the trooper about what was occurring and stared straight ahead.

The trooper’s K-9 gave a positive alert to the presence of narcotics in several places around the exterior of the vehicle. A search of the car revealed a gym bag containing around $2569 in U.S. currency but nothing further.

Her was placed under arrest as dispatch had advised his driver’s license was revoked. Another trooper followed the lead vehicle across the state line without observing any violations. At that point, South Dakota Highway Patrol took over.

The lead vehicle was pulled over and a search was performed due to a detectable odor of raw marijuana. A total of 83 pounds of marijuana was discovered in two large bags.

According to reports, the lead vehicle had been rented in Portland, Oregon under Her’s name and was again a one way rental. The driver of the lead vehicle, Sheng Chang, received a suspended sentence in June for a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver.

Her was found guilty following a trial by jury on felony count of possession, possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to deliver and one misdemeanor count of driving with a cancelled or suspended license.

He was sentenced to 180 days in the Crook County Detention Center, with credit for 113 days served, and four to five years in a state penal institution, as well as $15,000 in fines. The term in the state penal institution and $5000 of the fine were suspended pending completion of four years of probation.


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