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Charges dropped against women in mid-Missouri drug bust

A judge has dismissed drug possession charges brought against two Illinois women following a traffic stop in mid-Missouri that led to a drug bust.

According to court documents, Melody J. Kostansek of Ozark, Illinois, and Melissa Johnson of Carbondale, Illinois, were arrested in Cooper County on July 30 on suspicion of possession of marijuana, marijuana wax, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The Cooper County Prosecutor’s Office said it wouldn’t comment on whether it would refile charges against because the case had been dismissed.

A ruling to suppress evidence filed Dec. 31 by the lawyer representing the women stated the Missouri State Highway Patrol didn’t have enough reasonable cause to stop Kostansek, who was driving the vehicle. A judge agreed with the defense attorney’s argument, ruling the state could not use as evidence drugs found in Kostansek’s vehicle because of the way the evidence was obtained.

Kostansek’s vehicle was pulled over by a trooper July 30 as it traveled Interstate 70. The trooper followed the vehicle from the highway to a gas station to make the stop after following Kostansek’s vehicle for about 35 miles.

Judge Robert Koffman ruled that the trooper did not have reasonable suspicion to stop Kostansek and that the search was illegal. The trooper had said he stopped the vehicle in part because Kostansek went onto the shoulder once during those 35 miles and he thought she might be having a medical emergency.

Kostansek’s attorney told ABC 17 News on Tuesday it would be a surprise if prosecutors refiled charges.

Troopers found 50 pounds of marijuana in Kostansek’s vehicle during the traffic stop, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case.

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