Tinted windows lead to meth, marijuana bust

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 3, 2014 

Excessive window tint led to the arrest of three men after a Columbus Police drug dog alerted officers large amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana during a Saturday traffic stop near Warm Springs Road, according to court testimony.

Jesse Alvidrez, 24, Carlo Savage, 28, and Joshua Valdez, 26, faced intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of meth and possession of hydrocodone charges during a Monday morning Recorder's Court hearing.

The three suspects were also charged with possession of drug related objects and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Alvidrez was additionally charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The traffic stop was conducted near Warm Springs Road after Columbus Police Cpl. Nathan Norton noticed a Mercury Grand Marquis driving with excessively tinted windows. While an accompanying officer wrote a citation for Savage, who was driving, Norton asked if he could search the vehicle. After Savage refused, Norton commanded his K-9 partner Penny to conduct an open air sniff.

The dog alerted to two points on the car. Inside the Grand Marquis, officers found an undisclosed amount of meth, a single Hydrocodone pill and nearly 13 ounces of marijuana. The marijuana, which Norton said was in a freezer bag in the trunk, was valued at $3,619.

Police also found $5,000 in currency, which had been divided into three stacks and a box of 9mm rounds. A 9mm handgun was found under a passenger seat. A shotgun was found in the trunk, along with a scale that appeared to have marijuana and meth residue.

Alvidrez claimed possession of the narcotics during the hearing, leading Judge Michael Cielinski to drop Savage's and Valdez's charges.

Cielinski set Alvidrez's bond at $26,000. Savage and Valdez were released from Muscogee County Jail.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Savage as taking possession of the illegal narcotics.

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