Man arrested; 123 pounds of pot confiscated

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

A New York state man was arrested after troopers found 123 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a Wednesday traffic stop, State Police said.

The traffic stop was initiated for speeding and following too closely on Interstate 81 in Rockingham County. During the stop at mile marker 246, the driver, Jun Yan of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., consented to a search of his Toyota Sienna.

During the search, Virginia State Police discovered 123 boxes containing vacuum sealed packages of marijuana.

The 45-year-old Yan faces charges of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute and transporting more than 5 pounds of the drug into the state. In all, 123 pounds of marijuana with a street value of over $500,000 was confiscated.

Yan has been transported to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Regional Jail and is being held without bond.

Mount Jackson man receives 16 years for drug trafficking

International Automotive Components Group

The Virginia State Police (VSP) announced the sentencing of a Mount Jackson man for drug trafficking.

Merle Brook Stephens was found guilty in January of one count of knowingly or intentionally possessing with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Stephens also faced a count of a carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime and one count of possession of a firearm in relation to a  drug trafficking crime.

The 53 year old Stephens also faced a count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.

Stephens received his sentence Monday May 9 after a three day jury trial and has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Stephens was arrested on December 7, 2018 as a part of a larger law enforcement sting operation.

At the time of his arrest Stephens was in possession of more than 323 grams of methamphetamine.

Stephens was found to be in possession of a loaded 45 caliber semiautomatic handgun with five loaded magazines over $3,000 in cash and variety of drug paraphernalia.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.