Three Gainesville men picked the wrong place to hang out while waiting for a drug deal, according to the Commerce Police Department.
They were each arrested for loitering or prowling and possession of methamphetamine.
According to the incident report, an officer on patrol on Steve Reynolds Industrial Boulevard noticed a vehicle parked in the parking lot of the Rooker building in the Commerce 85 Business Park and decided to check it out.
He observed that there were three white males in the vehicle, and when he approached from the driver’s side, he reported observing that the driver appeared “very nervous.” When the officer asked what the men were doing there — the area is posted against trespassing — the driver, identified as Justin Avery Maney, 21, of 5292 Trudy Circle, Gainesville, replied, “waiting for someone.”
When the officer inquired if there were any illegal substances in the vehicle, he noticed Maney got even more nervous, so he asked Maney for permission to search the car. The arrest report said Maney responded, “You can, but I would rather you not.”
The officer asked the front-seat passenger, Jeremy Dennis Maney, 24, 5292 Trudy Circle, Gainesville, to exit, and noticed that he was shaking. He also observed a section of white straw fall from his lap and that as he checked J. D. Maney for weapons he found a small light bulb with the connection end removed and a white residue inside. Unfortunately, the officer dropped the device, which broke, making J.D. Maney even more nervous. The officer placed him in handcuffs for “officer safety.”
The driver asked for a jacket. The officer first searched the jacket for weapons and found a round grinder containing marijuana residue. The rear passenger, Ryan S. Braswell, 23, 5240 Trudy Circle, Gainesville, claimed the device. After searching Braswell for weapons, the officer handcuffed him as well.
The officer then told the driver that the marijuana residue constituted probable cause to search the vehicle. “Go ahead,” J. A. Maney allegedly replied.
Officers reported finding another light bulb with the electrical connection end removed and white crystals inside that tested positive for methamphetamine and a “substantial” amount of white powder, also identified as meth, on the passenger-side floor.
J.A. Maney claimed not to know where the drugs came from. He first told police that he’d picked up the two passengers, then changed his story to say that he was picked up by his brother and then picked up Braswell, then told police that the drugs probably belonged to his brother, who he said had been “hanging around with a bad crowd.”
Braswell, meanwhile, said he’d smoked meth, but not that day. He claimed he saw J.D. Maney with the glass bulb with meth and saw him place it under the seat. He also said J.D. Maney told him he’d poured the methamphetamine on the vehicle’s floor.
Next, J.D. Maney, who up to that point had refused to speak to officers, claimed ownership of the methamphetamine, then denied ownership, saying he wanted to “take the rap” to keep his brother from going to jail.
Later, police found in J.D. Maney’s shoe a “piece of white crystal” wrapped in paper.
The officer charged all three suspects with loitering/prowling and with possession of methamphetamine. They added a misdemeanor marijuana charge to Braswell.
For a report on all arrests made by the Commerce Police Department during the past week, see the Feb. 5 issue of The Commerce News.
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