A 30-year-old Los Angeles man — carrying about three pounds of marijuana and $116,000 in cash in the trunk of his car — faces multiple felony charges after his arrest by South Pasadena police in the early-morning hours of Tuesday, July 9, authorities said.
Large amounts of marijuana, as well as illegal firearms – including an AK-47 assault rifle – were also found at the man’s El Sereno home, and the full range of charges was still being sorted out, South Pasadena Police Cpl. Craig Phillips told the Review on Wednesday.
In all, about eight pounds of marijuana were seized, along with some 400 cannabis-oil vape cartridges and the high-powered rifle.
The suspect was identified as Noah Puni.
As of Wednesday, the charges filed so far included narcotics money laundering, a felony, and transportation of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Detectives and officials from the District Attorney’s office were still determining further charges, including possible weapons counts. Phillips said the AK-47 itself is not illegal to own, but that it was not yet clear if Puni was licensed to own it.
Ultimately, Puni could face both state and federal charges, Phillips said.
Puni was released on an unspecified bond but could land in custody again once the felony charges are filed, said Phillips — adding that the case was now in the hands of So Pas detectives.
Phillips said that, after Puni’s 1 a.m. arrest on a routine traffic stop in the 1100 block of Huntington Drive, a search warrant was later obtained for his residence, and that’s where the additional marijuana and the weapons were discovered.
Phillips said “a few” firearms were recovered at the residence — “one of particular interest,” likely a reference to the AK47.
“We’re starting to get a lot more of this transient traffic (in South Pasadena),’’ Phillips said. “We’ve made a couple of decent stops like this — not quite this big, but in the last few weeks, more and more, people wanted for multiples felonies and things like that.’’
Phillips did not say whether Puni had any outstanding warrants.
Police said that, after the traffic stop, an officer approached Puni’s black Lexus and smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. The officer asked Puni, who was alone in the vehicle, about the smell, and the driver admitted to smoking marijuana while driving.
The police account said the driver was removed from the vehicle, asked about any additional marijuana and admitted to possessing “a few pounds,” which were located in the trunk.
That’s where officers found the almost three pounds of marijuana and the $116,000 in U.S. currency, according the police.
Unable to justify the large amounts of drugs and cash, Puni was arrested under suspicion of illegally transporting marijuana for sale, police said.