NWGA Scanner | June 10th, 2022

Teenager found trafficking fentanyl during DUI traffic stop after running stop sign in Dalton

According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, On May 26th, 2022, at 12:05 AM, Officer Marcus observed a vehicle run a stop sign at Lakemont Drive and Linden Drive. Officer Marcus initiated a traffic stop at 1111 Lakemont Drive and made contact with the driver, Cesar Perez Lara, 19, 1111 Lakemont Drive, Dalton, who immediately got out of the vehicle. Officer Marcus reported, “When [I] approached Cesar [I] could detect a strong odor of marijuana coming from his vehicle and coming from him. Cesar stumbled out of his car. Cesar seemed very nervous and paranoid as [I] was speaking to him. Cesar kept wanting to go inside. His eyes were red. His voice was slow, and he repeated himself constantly. [I] explained to Cesar the reason for my stop. [I] asked him when he last smoked marijuana.” Cesar stated that he smoked marijuana prior to driving. Instead of answering the officer’s questions, Cesar continued to argue with him about anything he could think of. Officers Murdoch and Jenkins then arrived on the scene to assist. At this time, Cesar’s family came outside and also began to argue with officers. Officer Marcus reported, “[I] finally stopped asking Cesar about field sobriety and decided to arrest Cesar. My decision to arrest Cesar was based on the driving that [I] observed, the observations [I] made about Cesar’s eyes, speech, and movements, the strong odor of marijuana, and his own admission to smoking prior to driving. Due to these factors, [I] determined that Cesar was impaired to the extent that it is unsafe for him to operate a motor vehicle” While reading Cesar implied consent, he began to argue with the officer and even began to scream. Due to the odor of marijuana that was coming from the car, officers searched Cesar’s vehicle. According to the report, Cesar went crazy and began to scream as loud as he could as if he did not want them to look inside of it. At this time, Cesar’s family became very upset and got in the way of officers yelling at them that they could not search the car and that they were no longer allowed on their property. Officer Marcus reported, “On multiple occasions, [I] had to instruct the family to back away from me while [I] searched the car. During my search, [I] discovered a duffle bag in the back seat with two very large bags of marijuana. [I] also discovered several jars in the duffel bag. Officer Murdoch discovered a small plastic bag with 38 small blue pills determined to be oxycodone that could also be fentanyl. At this time, the drug unit was contacted, and a detective stated that he would speak to Cesar at the police department. The detective advised that the pills were, in fact, fentanyl. Officer Guerrero transported Cesar to the Whitfield County Jail, where he was charged with trafficking the fentanyl, possession of a schedule 2 drug, possession of marijuana, sale of or intent to sell marijuana, DUI (drugs), and failure to stop at a stop sign.