There are many different circumstances that can lead to an arrest on drug charges, but one of the most common is a traffic stop. People who are transporting illegal drugs, whether in small quantities for personal use or large amounts for distribution, are usually aware that violating traffic laws increases the chances that they will be caught. Running a red light or speeding past a state trooper is a good way to get pulled over, and if the officer who stops you finds probable cause to search your vehicle, you could find yourself in serious legal trouble.
A man accused by Maryland State Police of carrying 350 pounds of marijuana in his car was caught after he allegedly violated the state's "move over" law, which requires drivers to move out of the far-right driving lane if they approach a police cruiser or other emergency vehicle. He was pulled over soon after by a state trooper.
News reports on the traffic stop say the officer became suspicious of the man, though it's not clear why. But he ordered a drug-sniffing dog to the scene and the K-9 apparently alerted to drugs in the man's minivan. A subsequent search yielded five large duffel bags filled with bricks of marijuana, police said. It was said to be the largest seizure of drugs on record for the area.
The man, who is from New Jersey, is facing federal charges because authorities suspect he crossed state lines with his haul. The charges of marijuana possession, importing a controlled dangerous substance into Maryland and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance could earn him a prison sentence of up to 25 years -- possibly twice that because he has a previous drug conviction. His 2008 arrest on drug charges also came as the result of a traffic violation.
Maryland residents faced with drug charges as a result of a traffic stop should be aware that even if they've been stopped for a violation, police still need probable cause to conduct a vehicle search. Without this, any evidence of drug activity found in a search may be ruled inadmissible in court. To learn more about your rights, it might pay to consult with an attorney with experience in defending drug charges.
Source: Delaware Online, "Police say 'move over' violation led to big Md. pot bust," Brian Shane, Jan. 10, 2013
- Our firm assists Maryland residents in the defense of drug charges and other criminal offenses. To learn more about our practice, visit our Maryland drug charges page.