One of the two out-of state men arrested in last month’s seizure of over 270 pounds of pot failed to appear at his scheduled preliminary hearing in Morgan County court yesterday.
Twenty-eight year old Yang Li, of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested back on January 9th along with 30-year old Chan Lio, of San Francisco, California, after a traffic stop near Interstate 72 led to the discovery of approximately 271 pounds of marijuana.
Reports from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office claim that a sheriff’s deputy stopped the two men at around 10 a.m. near the exit that leads to South Jacksonville. The sheriff’s deputy claimed that the Lio and Li were traveling in a U-Haul van with Idaho license plates that were dirty to the point of being nearly unreadable, and that the driver of the U-Haul initially switched on the turn signal in the wrong direction, which the officer claimed to be the reasoning for pulling them over.
According to initial reports, the sheriff’s deputy claimed to smell marijuana coming from the vehicle as he approached, and after the driver consented to a search of the vehicle, officers discovered and seized the 271 pounds of pot, which authorities say holds a street value of approximately $1.2 million dollars.
At yesterday’s scheduled preliminary hearing, Li was not present, prompting the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s office to ask that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest. The other man arrested in the January 9th bust, Chan Lio, pleaded not guilty to alleged charges of cannabis trafficking, possession of cannabis, and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver. Through his attorney, Lio also asked for a trial by jury, which the court scheduled for April 10th.