Traffic stops lead to cannabis arrests

Traffic stops lead to cannabis arrests
Dave Faries

Deputies from the Audrain County Sheriff’s office made four cannabis or paraphernalia related arrests over the weekend.

Traffic stops on Friday resulted in two of these. In the first, a man was found in possession of more than 11 grams of a cannabinoid substance, as well as drug paraphernalia. Then deputies came across a man with a prior offense carrying a small amount marijuana. Saturday, an officer from the department pulled over a vehicle because he noticed the driver and front seat passenger not wearing a safety belt. Further inspection revealed both cannabis and paraphernalia.

“Ninety nine percent of the time that’s how it shakes out,” Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller said of routine traffic stops that lead to drug arrests. “Marijuana has a distinct odor.”
Oller explains that the department encounters a steady volume of traffic between Illinois, where recreational use is legal, and points in Missouri. This flow diverts manpower – and costs money – as stops turn into possession arrests. Few of those taken into custody with small amounts of cannabis remain behind bars for long. Deputies took pictures and fingerprints of the driver caught without a seat belt, but he was released the same day, as was a man nabbed in possession of paraphernalia on Sunday.

Joseph Nwokorie, the man with a drug record to his name according to the Sheriff’s Office arrest summary, paid a $5,000 bond and left custody after two days.

The toll on time and energy frustrates many officers. “We’re going to enforce the law, but there comes a point where it’s an exercise in futility,” Oller said. Still, he added, “It’s perfectly fine until you cross the state line.”

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