A 58-year-old man caught hauling hundreds of pounds of marijuana through southwest Missouri faces about four months in prison.
With the help of a Russian interpreter, Ashot Grigoryan entered a modified Alford plea to drug possession with intent to distribute after authorities found about 800 pounds of marijuana in the back of his truck in January 2015. An Alford plea means the defendant acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction but does not admit that he or she committed the crime.
Grigoryan was sentenced this week to seven years in prison. But he also agreed to a 120-day shock incarceration program. After he completes those 120 days in prison, a judge will decide whether to release Grigoryan on five years’ probation, The Springfield News Leader reported.
Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Zachary McFarland said Grigoryan also has to pay a $4,000 fine, which is what he was paid to transport the marijuana from California to New York.
According to a probable cause statement, a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper stopped Grigoryan’s truck on Jan. 29, 2015, for a compliance inspection on Interstate 44. The paperwork associated with the vehicle indicated that Grigoryan was transporting 36 packages of stir-fry sauce from Glendale, Calif., to Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the statement.
Authorities found 36 cardboard boxes and five large nylon bags full of heat-sealed bundles of marijuana, according to the statement. The marijuana and boxes weighed about 800 pounds (360 kilograms), the statement said.
His lawyer said Grigoryan did not know there was marijuana in the back of his truck, but he did know he was likely hauling something illegal.