JACKSON, Wyo. — A federal judge sentenced a West Virginia woman to five years in prison for trafficking nearly 300 pounds of marijuana in a recreational vehicle through Yellowstone National Park on the last of several trips she said she made between California and West Virginia.
Daphne Watkins, 53, pleaded guilty to one felony count. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl on Friday recommended imprisonment at a minimum-security facility in West Virginia.
He ordered Watkins to forfeit the RV, a 2003 Monarch Monaco, and $3,500 in cash found inside.
Yellowstone rangers earlier this year approached Watkins’ RV while it was parked after dark, with the generator running, at Grants Village Marina, a place where overnight camping was not allowed.
Rangers said they smelled marijuana. Watkins admitted she and a traveling companion had smoked pot a few hours earlier and that she had several hundred pounds of marijuana hidden inside the RV, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports. The marijuana was destined for West Virginia, she said. She admitted making several drug runs between California and West Virginia over the previous four years.
Watkins filed a motion protesting the basis for the contact, calling it a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. She reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors before the legal question went before a judge.
Felony drug charges against Watkins’ traveling companion were dropped in August.
Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide