A Buford man appeared nervous and possibly ready to make some significant life changes when stopped for several minor traffic violations on Dec. 6.
Derek E. Howard, 20, was driving a black Chevrolet Impala northbound on I-85 near the Mall of Georgia exit in Buford when a Gwinnet County Police officer noticed Howard fail to signal a lane change. According to the police report, Howard also failed to maintain his lane of travel and had an inoperative tail light. The officer conducted a traffic stop as Howard’s vehicle approached the Hamilton Mill exit.
Howard reportedly was very nervous when speaking with the officer. The officer noted Howard’s hands were visibly shaking and a slight odor of burnt marijuana was emanating from the vehicle. The officer then noticed a “marijuana smoking device” in the cup holder of the vehicle.
“I questioned Howard about the marijuana joint and he admitted its purpose,” the officer wrote in the arrest report. “I asked Howard if there was any marijuana in the vehicle and he just started shaking his head and said ‘I’m just tired of this.’ ”
At that point, Howard handed over a plastic baggy containing marijuana. Howard was placed under arrest at that time.
A further search of Howard’s vehicle revealed a digital scale designed to look like a cell phone, several baggies each of which “had a strong odor of marijuana” and a cell phone opened to a text message which reportedly indicated Howard was selling marijuana and pain pills. The officer also seized $460 in Howard’s possession on the suspicion the money was obtained through illegal drug sales.
Howard was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail and charged with a tag light violation, improper lane change and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He was released the following day on a $7,000 bond.
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