Traffic stop yields drug bust in Champaign motel

URBANA — A drug bust that ended in a Champaign motel room netted a suspected marijuana stash with a street value of nearly $35,000, authorities say.

Michael J. Bentley, 26, who was listed as homeless in Urbana, and Ryan L. Sample, 26, who listed an address in Littleton, Colo., were both charged Monday with felony possession with the intent to deliver cannabis.

According to a Champaign County sheriff's report, deputies pulled over a vehicle driven by Bentley on Country Club Lane in Urbana on Sunday after they noticed Bentley had a suspended driver's license. Sample was a passenger in the vehicle, the report said.

Deputies searched the vehicle after detecting what they described as "a strong odor" of suspected marijuana inside. During the search, deputies found a backpack that contained four baggies containing 129.66 grams (about 4.57 ounces) of suspected marijuana and $3,960 in cash.

After deputies also found a room key card for the LaQuinta Inn, 1900 Center Drive, C, they obtained a search warrant for the room.

When police investigators arrived, they found 13 vacuum-sealed bags containing a total of 10.15 pounds of suspected marijuana, as well as packaging and weighing materials.

According to Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz, the suspected marijuana found in the car and the room had a total street value of $34,942.50.

Sample has a medical marijuana card issued in Colorado, Rietz said.

If convicted, Bentley and Sample could be sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

Bentley was released from the Champaign County Jail after posting 10 percent of a $3,000 bond. Bentley is due back in court on Jan. 3.

Sample is being held at the Champaign County Jail on $75,000 bond. After Sample asked for more time to hire an attorney, his next court appearance was set for Dec. 31.

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