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Police search finds drugs

A Suffolk County Police officer testified that on the sixth of October, he was on patrol in the Mastic/Shirley area in a marked police car without a partner. He testified that while driving westbound in the area of the Shirley Motel. He states that while he was in the parking lot he saw a Mercury pulling out of the motel parking lot. The car made a left turn and headed east on the highway.

The officer passed the Mercury and states that he saw an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror. The officer turned around in the parking lot of the hotel and put on his lights to pull the vehicle over. The vehicle was driven by the criminal defendant.

The officer states that he approached the car and asked the defendant for his license and the defendant produced a license from Nevada. The officer noted that the defendant was not wearing the lap portion of his seat belt. While the car had an automatic seatbelt for the shoulder, it was still necessary to fasten the lap belt.

After running the license of the defendant the officer learned that the defendant had lost his privilege to drive in the state of New York. The officer asked the defendant to get out of the car and told him that he was under arrest for driving on a suspended license.

When the defendant was getting out of the car the officer noticed a Ziploc bag with a white substance in it that he believed were narcotics. The defendant states that he was sure the bag was closed because it contained a loaded handgun. The defendant testified that he keeps a loaded handgun with him because he would not leave it unattended in a hotel room. The defendant stated that the bag with a white substance was baking soda and he kept it there because one of his job responsibilities that day was to secure a boat by making it kid safe for a display at school.

Court Discussion and Decision
The defendant has submitted an application to suppress the tangible evidence that was seized from his vehicle during the stop and search. The court is denying this application.

The officer had reason to be suspicious when he saw a bag of white powder in the vehicle. Even though the bag was found to contain nothing but baking powder, the officer was right to search the vehicle and have the bag tested.

The guns that were found in the vehicle were lawfully seized during the search, which is why the application to suppress the evidence is denied.

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