An Illinois man who Burleigh County authorities say had 30 pounds of marijuana in his car during a December traffic stop pleaded not guilty Monday and will go to trial in May.
Varun Mahajan, 41, of Glendale Heights, Ill., is charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a felony that could result in a 20-year prison sentence if he’s convicted.
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Burleigh County Deputy Sheriff Jackson Binegar stopped Mahajan because his license plates were obscured by snow, the officer said during Mahajan’s preliminary hearing. He became suspicious of Mahajan’s story and behavior and requested a drug dog to check the vehicle. He then searched it and found 25 vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana weighing 1.2 pounds each, he said.
South Central District Judge Thomas Schneider set a May 6 trial date. Defense attorney Erica Jo Shively requested Mahajan be released by posting 10% of $100,000 bail. Schneider denied that request but amended Mahajan’s bond to $100,000 cash or surety.
Shively declined to comment further on the case.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com