North Carolina authorities arrested and charged a man suspected of drug trafficking after they seized 197 pounds of marijuana from his vehicle. The Drug Enforcement Agency made the arrest in March along with Cherokee Indian Police and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Officers stopped the accused man, a resident of Pasco, Wash., shortly after he entered the Cherokee Indian Reservation. They conducted a search of his vehicle during the traffic stop and found the marijuana. Investigators believe that the marijuana originated in an area of the West Coast where possession of the drug is legal. The marijuana could likely have been sold for a higher profit margin in East Coast states, where it remains illegal. Investigators estimated that the total street value of the marijuana totaled around $788,000.

Along with the marijuana, officers seized the vehicle the accused man was driving at the time of the traffic stop, a 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck. The man faces a charge of trafficking in marijuana. The DEA continues to investigate the case along with several other law enforcement agencies.

People who are accused of trafficking in large quantities of drugs like marijuana are often charged in federal court. Federal drug charges often carry harsher penalties than cases in state courts. A conviction can carry serious consequences, including long prison sentences and steep fines.

A criminal defense attorney handling a federal drug trafficking case may employ several strategies to minimize the penalties a client faces. In many cases, attorneys challenge traffic stops or search warrants because authorities may have violated a defendant’s civil rights. In other cases, it may be possible for an accused person to enter a drug diversion program or plead to reduced charges for cooperating with law enforcement.