EDDINGTON, Maine — A Florida man was arrested on drug and weapon charges last weekend after what began as a routine traffic stop.
Dustin Cox, 29, of Gainesville, Fla., was a passenger in a car being driven by his girlfriend when he was arrested around 1:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Deputy Darren Mason of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.
Mason said that he pulled the car over after he saw it turn from Jarvis Gore Drive onto Route 9 and travel a distance of about 40 feet in the wrong lane. In addition, the car’s brake light was out, he said.
Mason said that Cox’s girlfriend, whose family is from Pembroke, was driving and that her child — whom Mason said appeared to be about 3 or 4 years old — was sitting in the back seat when the incidents leading to Cox’s arrest took place. He said the girlfriend was not charged in connection with the incident.
The trouble for Cox began when Mason detected a strong marijuana odor as he approached the car and asked if he could search it.
Cox not only refused to allow a search, he also engaged the deputy in a brief tug-of-war over the door as the officer tried to open it. Mason said he eventually got the door open and Cox exited the car.
“At that point, I figured it was going to go downhill,” Mason said.
Mason said he then asked the driver if there was any contraband in the car and that she handed over a bag containing roughly a palmful of marijuana, three pipes and a cigarette case containing a partially smoked joint and other paraphernalia.
Although his girlfriend tried to accept responsibility for the items, Cox acknowledged that they belonged to him, Mason said.
Cox also admitted that he had been smoking marijuana in the vehicle shortly before the traffic stop. When Mason pointed out that there was a child in the vehicle, Cox allegedly said it was “OK because he had the window rolled down.”
A search of the car turned up a loaded .385-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Mason said. He said the gun was positioned in such a way that had it accidentally gone off, the driver’s child would have been shot in the back.
Mason said he informed Cox that Maine law requires that those who carry concealed weapons on their persons or in the vehicles possess a permit. He then asked if Florida had a similar law and Cox said that it did. Cox, however, did not have the required permit in either state.
Mason said Cox was arrested on charges of having a cocked and loaded firearm in the vehicle as well as with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and then to Penobscot County Jail. He since has been released on bail.