Man arrested on drug charge | Crime | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 30, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: March 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
A Florida man faces a charge of trafficking in marijuana following a traffic stop on I-95.
Ovidio Jesus Martinez, 50, of Homestead, Fla. was taken into the custody on the felony charge the morning of March 22 after a traffic stop in the southbound lanes of the interstate.
He was released from custody after posting a $10,000 bond and has been assigned a public defender to handle his criminal case.
On March 22 at approximately 9 a.m., a member of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Interstate Criminal Enforcement team was parked along the southbound lanes as part of his routine patrol of I-95 when he reportedly watched as Martinez made a lane change without signaling.
The officer entered the flow of traffic and began following Martinez’s vehicle, pulling the vehicle over near the Exit 42 interchange.
The driver was asked to turn over his driver’s license and documentation for the vehicle, and he handed over his license and a concealed carry permit.
The officer began explaining the reason for the traffic stop and the suspect reportedly said that he did not understand English very well.
The officer then began interviewing the man in Spanish.
He said that he had been in North Carolina and was returning to his home in Florida.
As the officer was returning to his cruiser to run a computer check on the man’s license, he noticed a variety of coffee containers and energy drinks and a book bag on the rear seat and three cardboard boxes in the rear cargo area of the Chevrolet Tahoe.
Intrigued by the boxes, the officer asked that a canine team be dispatched to the area for a free air search of the outside of the vehicle. The dog reportedly indicated the presence of drugs inside the vehicle.
The officer handed the suspect back his paperwork and issued him a warning for the traffic offense.
“The driver was happy and made an attempt to leave,” the officer wrote in his incident report.
Then, in Spanish, he asked the driver if the officers could search his vehicle. “He looked at me with a confused face,” the officer wrote. Then the man was told the officers were going to search the vehicle and he allegedly stated “OK.”
When the officers checked the three boxes in the rear of the vehicle, they allegedly found 72 bags of marijuana with a total weight of 48 pounds.