A man who was initially charged by local prosecutors last year was sentenced to five years imprisonment Monday by a federal judge for possessing a gun while traveling on Interstate 80 with about 65 pounds of marijuana.
The 54-year-old Texas man, David Murray, was arrested in November at the Petrol Fuel Station, where a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper found defendant with the marijuana and a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun that had a round in the chamber.
The gun prompted federal prosecutors to take an interest, charging him with “carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime” in December. Murray pleaded guilty to that charge in July.
The U.S. Attorney for Wyoming, Mark Klaassen, has expressed a particular interest in prosecuting gun crimes. The Gillette native assumed office in November 2017.
Murray’s arrest came when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper noticed a gray passenger vehicle driving at about 15 mph under the posted speed limit on I-80 on Nov. 23. He followed the vehicle to Petro Fuel Station and made contact with the driver, Murray, who said his brother had rented the vehicle for him.
When the trooper asked to see the rental agreement, he smelled “the strong odor of raw marijuana coming from inside of the vehicle,” according to his affidavit.
Murray was then handcuffed and placed in the front seat of a patrol vehicle.
While detained, Murray “slipped his handcuffs from behind him and pulled the electrical cords out of the panel which provide power and internet connectivity” according to the patrol vehicle.
Murray then allegedly pulled a power cord apart from its plug, causing the keyboard to be inoperable.
The trooper searched Murray’s vehicle and found three black garbage bags filled with marijuana and dryer sheets.