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Seatbelt violation earns Sanford woman cocaine trafficking charge

A routine traffic stop by a Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy with a K-9 partner ended in the arrest of a 67-year-old Sanford woman on felony drug trafficking and other charges last week. She was pulled over because the eagle-eyed officer happened to notice she wasn’t wearing her seat belt.

When the officer asked the woman to get out of her vehicle, the K-9 officer -- a dog named Egor -- apparently took himself for a short walk from the cruiser and around the side of the woman’s Nissan minivan. At that point, according to the police report, Egor alerted to the presence of narcotics.

The dog’s alert prompted the officer to search the minivan. Right there on the front passenger’s seat was a big round hat box. Inside, the officer says, was a black trash bag containing approximately 562 grams (about a pound and a quarter) of powder cocaine, all sealed up in individual-size plastic bags. He also reported finding 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of marijuana and some of the club drug methylone (MDMA).

Strangely, the report also made note of the fact that the woman’s hat box was on top of another box -- this one containing raw chicken. It does call into question whether Egor actually alerted to the drugs or was simply tempted by the poultry.

In Florida, having more than 400 grams of cocaine is considered felony drug trafficking, and she was charged with that offense along with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. She was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail and denied bail.

While the details of this story may be amusing, we should always keep the seriousness of felony charges -- and the life-altering consequences of a drug conviction -- in the forefront of our minds. If convicted, this woman could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Woman, 67, pulled over for seat belt charged with cocaine trafficking,” Lyda Longa, July 5, 2013

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