Law enforcement agencies resort to many different techniques to detect criminal behavior. One of the most frequently used technique is a highway interdiction, that is, the stopping automobiles to check for possession of prohibited substances. A recent interdiction on I-85 resulted in the arrest of two men for various drug crimes.
According to police, they stopped a 2003 Infiniti G35 on northbound I-85. The car was registered to a woman who lived in Charlotte, but the registration had expired. Two men were in the car, and each was interrogated by police. The driver admitted that he did not have a valid driver’s license and that he had never possessed one. The two men were supposedly traveling to Lexington, NC.
While police were conducting their interrogation of the suspects, a drug detection canine from the Rowan County Drug Detection Center arrived at the scene to sniff the exterior of the Infiniti. The dog reacted positively to an illicit drug odor emanating from the vehicle. The driver admitted to possessing a “little piece” of marijuana. Officers then opened the driver’s door and found a container filled with marijuana and two zip lock plastic bags containing approximately 440 grams of both tablets and crushed tablets. The logos on the tablets led officers to suspect that the tablets were Ecstasy. A field test kit gave a weak indication for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, thus confirming the officers’ suspicion that the tablets contained Ecstasy. When analyzed by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the tablets were determined to be a combination of cocaine and methamphetamine.
The two men had been released at the time of the traffic stop, but warrants were later issued for their arrest. The driver was apprehended on September 17, and his passenger was arrested on October 7. Each suspect was charged with Level III trafficking cocaine, Level III trafficking methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle, conspiracy to deliver cocaine, conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, and possession with intent to sell/deliver cocaine and methamphetamine. Both suspects have been transferred to the custody of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, and both are being held on $100,000 bail.
The way forward
The two men are facing serious criminal charges, even though each of them is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. A capable lawyer can provide an evaluation of the evidence, suggest defense strategies, and – when appropriate – attempt to negotiate an acceptable plea agreement.