Speeder’s Stop on I-95 Nets 1.7 lb of Cocaine and Trafficker’s Arrest on $150,000 Bond
FlaglerLive | December 15, 2011
Tuesday evening at 6:20 Carmine Celico, the Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy, had just gotten on I-95 traveling north in his patrol car, from State Road 100 on-ramp, when he saw a white Nissan Altima zoom by ad swerve in and out of traffic. Celico got behind the car and clocked it for about a mile, going at speeds of 95 to 100 mph. He pulled over the driver at the weigh station.
Asked if he knew why he was being pulled over, the driver said: “Yes, speeding, sorry.”
His driver’s license identified him as Edward La Troy, a 34-year-old resident of Northwest 39th Court in Miami, where he was traveling from. La Troy said he was heading to Jacksonville to see his grandmother, who was in the hospital, and that he’d probably be there about a week. “I noticed a small handbag on the driver side back seat that would not hold enough clothes for a week,” Celico wrote in his incident report.
Back-up arrived while Celico was running La Troy’s information through his computer. When asked if he’d consent to a search of his vehicle, La Troy declined, as is within his right. It’s also within the cops’ right to summon a K-9 to sniff around the vehicle from the outside, which they did. K9 Reno arrived with Deputy Joseph Dailey. Reno sniffed something, alerting the deputies to the presence of narcotics.
The Nissan, a rental car, was searched. Deputies found a citation that had been issued less than three hours earlier by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper. La Troy was going 85 in a 70. There were energy drinks strewn throughout the car. In the handbag on the backseat, deputies found mouthwash, body soap, a few pairs of boxer shorts, socks, and several boxes of condoms, according to the deputy’s report.
And there was this: the deputy searching the trunk found, inside the spare tire compartment, a Walgreens plastic bag with a vacuum-sealed bag wrapped in tin foil and dryer sheets in it. La Troy was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car.
The bag was punctured with a knife, the knife revealed a white powdery substance the deputies judged to be cocaine–and proved to be so by a field-test.
La Troy was taken to the Flagler County jail. He was charged with one count of trafficking cocaine and held on $150,000 bail. He remains in jail. The cocaine was taken to the Criminal Investigations Division where it weighed in at 759 grams–not quite a kilo, in cocaine parlance. In English, the stuff weighed 1.67 pounds. The Sheriff’s office placed the cocaine’s street value at $33,000.
The United States cocaine market has shrunk dramatically in recent years, according to the United Nation’s World Drug report issued in June. “Nevertheless,” the report states, “the United States of America continues to be the largest market for cocaine, an estimated 157 tons of cocaine having been used in that country in 2009. Europe, with a population larger than the United States, consumed 21 tons in 2009.