Erik Felsheim reigns as Waseca's traffic ticket king. Since 2009, he's been flagged six times, including a 2014 stop when he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, but did have some pot.
Felshiem took his behind-the-wheel talents westward the following month, motoring on Interstate 80 west of Lincoln, Nebraska. James Atkinson of Mankato rode shotgun. They were headed for Golden, Colorado.
Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy Jason Henkel stopped Felsheim for tailgating. He asked the young men if they happened to have any firearms or large mounts of cash in the car. Negative, they told him.
Mind if I search the vehicle? Henkel asked.
Felsheim paused. Okay, he decided.
Two bags, a duffle and one for working out, awaited Henkel in the truck. Together, they held $65,000 in cash. Felsheim told the deputy it was for buying 17 pounds of marijuana. The men were en route to Golden to make the purchase. Henkel's intervention meant there would be a change in plans.
Felsheim was charged with two felonies, including possession of money intended to facilitate a drug deal.
Atkinson would plead no contest to a a pair of misdemeanors. He served 360 days in jail and paid a $2,000 fine.
Felsheim, on the other hand, chose to have his day in court. Earlier this week, Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong ruled the defendant had committed no crime.
"The intention to commit a crime in another state does not constitute a crime in Nebraska," Strong wrote.
To possess money in Nebraska intended to buy illegal drugs is criminal, added Strong, but the possession of currency alone is not a crime.
Messages left for Felsheim yesterday were not returned, but defense attorney Tim Sullivan tells City Pages, "I can't say I've ever been involved in a case like this. It has been dismissed and prosecutors can't try Mr. Felsheim for the same charges again."