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2 accused of hauling pot in ramen noodles shipment plead not guilty

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Two people accused of transporting marijuana through North Dakota in a van loaded with ramen noodles have been scheduled for trial next year.

Tariq Alexander, 28, on Monday pleaded not guilty to drug possession with intent to deliver. His trial is set for Feb. 22. Latifah Rivers, 24, pleaded not guilty last week. Her trial is April 26.

The two Philadelphia residents were arrested Aug. 28 after a North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper stopped the van for speeding on Interstate 94 in Mandan. The trooper smelled burned marijuana, and a search of the vehicle produced two 5-pound bags of pot inside boxes of ramen noodles, according to an affidavit. Authorities said troopers also found a tracking device that's commonly used by drug traffickers.

Alexander said he was driving from Tacoma, Washington, to New York with a delivery of noodles that another company worker had loaded onto the van, the affidavit states. His attorney, Robert Quick, did not immediately respond to a Tribune request for comment.

Both suspects told authorities they were unaware that the boxes contained marijuana. The two voluntarily gave troopers the passcodes for cellphones and a tablet in the van, according to the affidavit.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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