Columbia County deputies nab 2 on weed charges

Columbia County

TAGHKANIC, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is reporting the arrest of two men who had cash and a variety of cannabis products in their car. This as New York’s lawmakers are in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana.

At around 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, deputies say they spotted a car speeding up the northbound Taconic State Parkway. They say it was going over 55 miles an hour. Police said they smelled marijuana and conducted a search. They say it yielded 67 THC vape cartridges—more than an ounce—along with a large bag containing over 16 ounces of weed, and $16,600 in cash.

Deputies seized the contraband and arrested both men—the driver, 25-year-old Bennington, Vermont man Benjamin Roberts, and passenger Michael Mientka, 26, of Leeds, New York. They’re facing separate charges.

Along with a speeding ticket, Roberts faces:

  • Fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for 1 ounce or more of concentrated cannabis
  • Fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for concentrated cannabis
  • Second-degree criminal possession of marijuana
  • Aggravated third-degree unlicensed operator

Meanwhile, Mientka was charged with:

  • Fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for 1 ounce or more of concentrated cannabis
  • Fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for concentrated cannabis
  • Second-degree criminal possession of over 16 ounces of marijuana
  • Second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana

Convictions and maximum sentences for all of these charges could earn each man as much as 29 years incarcerated.

“If people are going to use the roadways in Columbia County to transport drugs, our deputies will find them and arrest them,” said Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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