Only on 23 News: Rockford Church Leader Arrested in Texas on Drug Charges

By: Shannon Smith
By: Shannon Smith

ROCKFORD (WIFR) --A Rockford church leader returns home, just a day after being arrested in Texas on the charge of possession of almost 70 pounds of marijuana.

“I made a bad decision and unfortunately I have to pay the consequences." As youth minister at International Rock Church, Ben Vongsiri will have to face the congregation come Sunday morning. "Right now this is a day I’ll never forget," said Vongsiri.

He says what started out as a favor, ended with him being arrested in Texas on drug charges. After visiting a friend in Fresno, California, Vongsiri tells us he agreed to take 68 pounds of marijuana to Arkansas. "After I made the decision, I knew I shouldn't have done it," said Vongsiri.

State troopers say they found the drugs in the back seat of his car during a traffic stop in Amarillo, Texas, where he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. "We make bad mistakes and I regret it and I just wanted to face the problem I’ve caused," said Vongsiri.

It was a shock for his pastor, Paul Chanthalangsy, who's known Vongsiri since he was a little boy. “He will go out of his way to help people," said Chanthalangsy. But he says he didn't expect this kind of help. "I was surprised, I was shocked," said Chanthalangsy. He says he believes Vongsiri was just the messenger. "He would be the last person to abuse it.

Pastor Chanthalangsy also says Vongsiri will need to take some time off before he can participate in a service, or mentor the youth again.

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