A pair of traffic stops on the U.S. 441 bypass resulted in the arrests of three people during the past week for possession of methamphetamine, according to the Commerce Police Department.
Justin Smith, 25, of 1050 Walnut Street, Athens, had a unique excuse, however. He said he smoked meth “to numb the pain” of his mother’s death.
He was a back-seat passenger in a vehicle that inexplicably stopped suddenly on the bypass, causing other motorists to have to slam on their brakes to avoid a collision. A Commerce officer who witnessed the event responded as the suspect vehicle pulled from the left lane over to the road shoulder.
According to the arrest report, the driver claimed the vehicle had “just run out of gas.” The officer observed that the driver and Smith appeared to be overly nervous, with shaking hands and heavy breathing, and would not make eye contact.
The officer also detected the odor of marijuana and asked the occupants if they’d been smoking, which they denied.
Dispatch revealed that the driver had a probation violation warrant from Macon, while Smith and the front-seat passenger, a female, were both on felony probation, Smith for writing bad checks, and the woman for possession of methamphetamine.
Smith, who owned the vehicle, consented to its search. One officer reported finding a set of digital scales in the center console, and numerous packs of Swisher Sweet cigars, commonly used to roll marijuana “blunts,” in the glove box. He also found a bottle of prescription medication.
The other officer, outside the vehicle with Smith, allegedly found a plastic bag of suspected methamphetamine at Smith’s feet and suggested Smith was trying to push it under the vehicle, out of sight. Police found another set of digital scales in the vehicle’s trunk.
According to the report, Smith volunteered that the contraband was his. He also expressed dismay that the officer could smell marijuana, explaining that he kept the vehicle clean and smoked cigars to cover the odor.
Smith said the vehicle was left to him by his mother and he used methamphetamine “to numb the pain of her passing away.” Smith also told the officer that he was just a user, not a dealer, and that he used the digital scales to make sure he wasn’t cheated when he was buying meth.
In another traffic stop, Alan Hubbard, 24, of 142 Trout Lane, Commerce (Banks County) was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act and possession of a Schedule 4 substance with intent to distribute — along with speeding, which was the offense that started all of his problems.
A passenger in the vehicle, Michael Rusgrove, 27, 9493 Commerce Road, Athens, was charged with possession of methamphetamine.
Details of the traffic stop, which took place on Sunday, were not immediately available.