Painting of marijuana in U-Haul van prompts drug arrest in Kingsport

Rain Smith • Oct 31, 2008 at 12:00 AM

A routine traffic stop Wednesday led to the discovery of drugs after police noticed a painting of marijuana plants in the vehicle.

According to an incident report filed by the Kingsport Police Department, a U-Haul van was stopped at mile marker 59 of Interstate 81 for traveling 75 mph in a 65 mph zone.

While speaking with the driver, Michael Knopf, 36, of Asheville, N.C., police noticed he was nervous and visibly shaking. While Knopf explained that he had no paperwork for the U-Haul van, police saw a painting of marijuana plants in the back. Fluorescent lighting — the type typically used for growing marijuana — was also visible.

Upon receiving consent to search the vehicle, police discovered digital scales covered in plant residue and a grinder and paper bag containing what is believed to be marijuana. A glass pipe and nine photos of marijuana, some with Knopf also pictured, were also discovered.

Knopf was arrested and charged with possession of more than an ounce of marijuana for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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