When we hear about traffic stops, we may think of the possibility of speeding tickets, a citation for running a red light or a stop sign, or maybe a DWI. But the fact is that traffic stops often lead to much more serious allegations. A case in point involves a recent incident that took place in Waco, Texas. And it led to some very serious charges.
Police stopped a Ford Mustang traveling on North 20th just before midnight last week. The report does not indicate the reason for the initial stop, but something was apparently noticed during the course of the stop concerning the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) that police say made them suspicious. This led to a search of the vehicle. They say they found two things during the course of the search: (1) a half pound of cocaine; and (2) the suspect’s three year old son. The driver was arrested and charged with drug possession and endangerment. In this case, the potential sentence in the event of a conviction is lengthy indeed:
- Cocaine is a Schedule I drug. This means that the government believes it has a high potential for abuse, and no accepted medical treatment value. Possession of 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams (a half pound, as alleged in this case, is just over 226 grams), is a first degree felony. First degree felonies carry a potential sentence of between five years and 99 years, or life in prison.
- Child endangerment is covered under section 22.041 of the Penal Code. Knowingly placing a child under the age of 15 in imminent danger of death or injury is likely to be, in this case, a state jail felony. Police say the charge is based upon the child’s proximity to the drugs they found in the vehicle.
While this drug bust appears to have happened at least in part by chance, in fact it is not all that unusual. The truth is that routine traffic stops regularly lead to drug busts, some of them massive. And many of these incidents take place far from border crossings or other areas where you might be more inclined to expect the presence of drugs or drug trafficking.