Sam Clauder

Samuel Hershel Clauder II, a former spokesman and finance chairman for the San Bernardino County Democratic Center Committee. (Staff file photo)

By Doug Saunders, The Sun
Posted: 02/26/16 – 3:09 PM PST |

A former up-and-comer in San Bernardino County political circles, who was once wrongfully jailed and charged with possession of child pornography, has found himself in the legal spotlight again — this time in Texas for allegedly possessing nearly 200 pounds of marijuana.

Samuel Herschel Clauder II, 64, of Arcata, was driving a 2016 Chrysler minivan on Highway 287 near Iowa Park, Texas when he was pulled over by state troopers about 4 p.m. Monday for an alleged traffic violation, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety news release.

“Mr. Clauder was pulled over after he was observed driving on the highway shoulder,” Texas State Trooper Dan Buesing said Friday in a phone interview.

When the trooper walked up to the minivan’s window he could smell the odor of marijuana so he asked Clauder for a consent to search the vehicle which he firmly denied, Buesing added. So the trooper called in a drug-interdiction dog who alerted the trooper to the smell of narcotics, according to the news release.

“We’re starting to see a lot more of trafficking on this highway since Colorado legalized personal use of marijuana,” Buesing said. “Mr. Clauder had a small amount of hashish he said was for personal use.” Then the troopers discovered the duffle bags in the back of the van.

Several large duffle bags stuffed with bricks of marijuana with a combined weight of more than 174 pounds and a street value of more than $1 million were found, Buesing said.

Clauder was booked into the Wichita County jail on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana.

According to Texas troopers, the marijuana was being transported by Clauder from California to Tallahassee, Florida. It was unclear Friday why the drugs were en route to Florida or whether it was with the intent to sell or distribute, but Texas investigators are trying to determine that and said they couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation.

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