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Eureka man arrested for pot during traffic stop

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The threshold for conducting a traffic stop is fairly low for police in Santa Cruz, like anywhere in California. Law enforcement needs only a reasonable suspicion that some violation occurred for a court to determine the officer's decision to conduct a traffic stop was reasonable. During a traffic stop police often seek to find evidence to support a suspicion of potentially more serious offenses.

Many Californians have read stories of DUI arrests that include the narrative of odors of alcohol, glassy eyes and slurred speech. Odors are a common basis that police try to rely upon to expand the scope of an investigation during a traffic stop. An alleged strong odor of marijuana is part of the allegations of police that led to the arrest of a Eureka man after a traffic stop Tuesday.

An officer claims he saw a car make an abrupt lane change on southbound Highway 101 Tuesday evening. The officer says the driver cut off another vehicle during the lane change. The California Highway Patrol reports the officer conducted a traffic stop due to the observations.

Officer Brian Wood says he could smell a strong odor of marijuana during the encounter with the driver. Police say the driver had a medical marijuana recommendation. The driver reportedly showed the officer two small bags of pot during the traffic stop.

Police claim the driver then fainted. Law enforcement conducted a search of the 45-year-old man's car. Police say they seized roughly 12 pounds of processed pot that was in a number of small packages.

Paramedics reportedly treated the driver. The man was placed under arrest and booked into the Sonoma County jail on suspicion of transportation of drugs and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. The man reportedly is free on $30,000 bail.

Source: The Press Democrat, "Eureka man arrested on marijuana charges after Highway 101 traffic stop," Julie Johnson 27 Jul 2011

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