The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 30, 2013

Expired plates lead to arrests of two

Star Beacon

GENEVA —  An expired driver’s license led to the arrest of a 25-year-old Ashtabula man on drug possession charges early Sunday morning.

The suspect was driving his Ford F150 truck at routes 20 and 534 just after midnight when Geneva Police Officer Doug Zetlaw was alerted that the suspect’s driver’s license was expired by a several weeks.

His passenger, a 44-year-old Geneva man, was wanted on a warrant by the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department, Zetlaw said.

After arresting the Geneva man and searching the Ashtabulan for weapons, Zetlaw said he asked for permission to search the truck. The suspect refused.

Using the Geneva Police Department’s certified narcotic detection dog, Zip, Zetlaw conducted a “walk-around open air sniff” outside the truck, police reports show.

A search of the truck uncovered a hypodermic needle stashed under the rear bench seat, police reports show.

“Behind the driver’s seat was a white Tupperware container that had the name (of the suspect) written on it with magic marker,” Zetlaw said. “Inside this container was a small piece of straw that had been fashioned into a snorter tube.”

Zetlaw said he also found “a fine, white film of suspected dangerous drug residue” in the container.

“You could tell by the appearance of the film that the residue had been drawn into ‘lines’ for snorting,” Zetlaw said.

In the center console of the truck, Zetlaw also found a pen that had been fashioned into a “snorter tube.”

Both denied ownership of the hypodermic needle, and the Ashtabula suspect told Zetlaw the plastic container was his.

A second passenger in the truck was released from the scene. The Geneva man was taken to the Ashtabula County Jail, and the Ashtabula suspect was booked into the Geneva City Jail.

Misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle without a driver’s license, possession of a drug abuse instrument and possession of drug paraphernalia are pending for the Ashtabula man.

The Genevan faces a jury trial in July for two felony counts of aggravated possession of drugs for a Nov. 27 incident in Geneva involving 1.5 grams of methamphetamines, court records show. He has faced at least eight criminal and traffic citations in 2012 alone.