SAM SAI SHOUA LAO

Lao

A Minnesota man who was arrested in March for drug trafficking was sentenced to prison Wednesday.

Sam Sai Shoua Lao, 49, was stopped by an Idaho Falls Police Department officer after an automatic license plate reader indicated he was driving a car another agency had identified as suspected of trafficking drugs.

Law enforcement discovered two duffel bags in the trunk of Lao’s car with a combined 42 pounds of marijuana inside.

As part of the plea agreement, Lao’s charge was reduced from trafficking 25 or more pounds of marijuana to trafficking between 1 and 5 pounds of marijuana. The attorneys agreed to a plea deal with a sentence of one year fixed in prison, the mandatory minimum, and 11 years indeterminate.

Defense Attorney Allen Browning asked the court to accept the agreement, saying his client had no significant criminal record.

Bonneville County Assistant Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tanner Crowther echoed Browning, saying the sentence was serious enough to dissuade Lao from trafficking drugs again.

Lao said he was sorry for his actions and wanted to finish his sentence and return to his family.

In addition to prison time, Lao was also sentenced to pay $5,285.50 in fines and fees.

Destiny Vang, who was in the car with Lao, has a pretrial conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 20 in Bonneville County Courthouse.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.