Traffic stop nets #036;5,000 drug haul

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2000

CHESAPEAKE – Four Detroit, Mich.

Wednesday, February 23, 2000

CHESAPEAKE – Four Detroit, Mich., men will appear in Lawrence County Municipal Court Friday on illegal drug charges after a Tuesday morning traffic stop.

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Chesapeake Police Department Sgt. Steve Sisler arrested the driver of a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix early Tuesday shortly after the vehicle entered the village limits.

"It all started out as a mere speeding ticket," Sisler said. "The vehicle was going at an excessive speed off the (Sixth Street) bridge into Chesapeake."

After Sisler stopped the vehicle, he suspected there might be more than just a speeding violation, he said.

"I smelled a little alcohol and what appeared to be burnt marijuana," Sisler said. "I tested the driver for driving under the influence and it didn’t test high enough. We ran his driver’s license and it came back with driving under suspension. We placed the driver under arrest."

Following the arrest, Ironton Police Department officer Lon Hilton was brought in with his canine partner, Djabba, who indicated there might be drugs in the vehicle, Sisler said. After a search, a large amount of money was found, as well as marijuana seeds and buds.

A consent to search the driver’s hotel room at the Comfort Inn in South Point turned up 7.02 grams of crack cocaine, said Tim Newman, Chesapeake assistant police chief.

"At $50 a piece, that’s probably $5,000 or more worth of crack cocaine," Newman said. "Each one (of the 80 pieces) were wrapped individually. That’s a sure sign of trafficking."

Officers also found scales that could be used to weigh the crack, blades that could be used to cut up the crack, rubber bands that could be used to wrap up the $7,448 discovered, a gun cleaning kit, tobacco that indicates the emptying of Philly Blunt cigars for use with marijuana and a locked box that contained a .380 caliber handgun, Sisler said.

Officials said the names of the suspects would be released after further investigation.

The driver will be charged with speeding, driving under suspension, possession of marijuana and attempted trafficking. He must appear before both the Lawrence County Municipal Court and the Chesapeake Mayor’s Court, which will be in session March 8, Newman said.

The three passengers also were arrested and charged with possession, he added.

Other charges are pending.

The arrest was a joint effort between the Chesapeake Police Department, Athalia Police Department, Proctorville Police Department, Ohio Highway Patrol, Ironton Police Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office, Sisler said.

The other departments were called in to serve as backup, as well as to sort and gather evidence, he said.

This arrest is part of the county’s continuing battle against illegal drug possession and sale in the area, Chesapeake police Chief Russell Bennett said.

"I think they did a fine job," Bennett said. "Anytime we can take this amount of drugs off the street, it’s a good thing."

And the speed of the investigation would not have been possible without the cooperation of all county law enforcement agencies, Bennett added.

"They’ve been working since 1 a.m. this morning," he said Tuesday evening. "I’m glad all the other departments chipped in and helped these boys out. If we all work together, we can get more done and get a lot more of these drugs off the street."