The 33-year-old navy veteran said he has a disability stemming from his service and that the roughly one gram of medical marijuana he had on him came from Washington DC, where cannabis is legal. He lives in New York, where medical cannabis is also legal. “Cannabis is a really, really safe and beneficial tool to deal with the PTSD I have.”
On Thursday, police in Mobridge, South Dakota, arrested two individuals that officials claimed were VeteransRespond members. Sanderson, however, said they were not members, although one of them, Travis Biolette, is now loosely affiliated with the group, which is assisting him in his charges.
According to the Morton County news alert, South Dakota police performed a traffic stop “for a Michigan-plated vehicle” and that during the stop, an officer “recognized signs of criminal activity”. Having an out of state license is not a violation, and it’s unclear what activity the officer observed.
A police search found hash oil, which is classified as a controlled substance in South Dakota. “The car and protester gear were also confiscated and placed into evidence,” police said. Biolette and his friend were taken to jail in Selby, South Dakota.
In a phone interview Monday night, Biolette said he spent four nights in jail and was released earlier in the day. He said that police pulled him over for speeding about six miles above the limit and that when he revealed he was going to Standing Rock, the officer launched a search.
“As soon as I said I was going to Sacred Stone, he asked me to get out of the car and put me in his vehicle,” said Biolette, a 41-year-old from Michigan, who served in the marine corps from 1994 to 2001. He said the hash oil is his prescribed medication, which he uses for PTSD and major depressive disorder.
“I have no prior record. This is my first run-in with law enforcement,” said Biolette, who said he is facing a felony and up to five years in state prison.
Biolette, who is now getting support from VeteransRespond members who picked him up from jail, said police still have his vehicle with all of his possessions, including his cold-weather clothing. Nonetheless, he was still planning on Monday night to go to Standing Rock, which he also visited last year.
“I don’t have any anger in me at the police,” he said. “I pray that they will somehow understand … that they might not be on the right side of history.”
VeteransRespond has said it intends to help Standing Rock leaders on camp with a range of responsibilities, including cleanup efforts, kitchen help and medical aid.
The Mobridge police department could not be reached for comment.