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Traffic Stop Leads to Marijuana Bust in Wilmington

We have talked before about the many circumstances that can lead to drug charges. Sometimes, anonymous tips lead police officers to search a suspect's house. Other times, major investigations and sting operations are conducted to trap people who are believed to be involved in drug crimes. But many times, simple traffic stops lead to major drug crimes charges.

Last Friday, two people discovered the serious consequences that can result from a routine traffic stop in Wilmington, North Carolina. A 21-year-old woman and 24-year-old man are both being held in the New Hanover County jail after officers say they found more than 50 pounds of marijuana in the car. The man and woman were charged with marijuana possession and trafficking.

Drivers are pulled over for a variety of reasons. Maybe a police officer suspects a person of speeding. A tail light could be out. Or now, a license plate could be partially covered up. And any of these reasons will likely lead the officer to look inside the vehicle.

Most of the time, officers do not see anything that gives them a right to conduct a more thorough search of the vehicle. However, in last weekend's traffic stop, the officer apparently saw marijuana in plain view inside the car.

After analyzing the evidence from the car, the Wilmington Police Department announced that they found 56 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle. That amount of marijuana could be sold for $40,000 on the street.

The two people who were in the car when the officer found the drugs were both arrested. They were charged with drug crimes and will likely face an uphill battle protecting their rights against those charges. Bail was set at $300,000 for the woman and $1 million for the man.

Source: WECT News, "Officer intercepts 56 lbs. of marijuana during routine traffic stop," 10 Dec 2010

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