NEW FOR FRIDAY: 350-Plus Pounds Of Pot Seized After Traffic Stop

NEW FOR FRIDAY: 350-Plus Pounds Of Pot Seized After Traffic Stop

BERLIN — Local law enforcement officials this afternoon announced the arrest of a New Jersey man last week and the seizure of over 350 pounds of marijuana after a routine traffic stop evoking a seldom utilized Maryland law on Route 113 near Berlin.

Around 4:30 p.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper in an unmarked car with its red and blue lights flashing was stopped on the shoulder along Route 113 just north of Germantown Rd. in Berlin. A Toyota Sienna, driven by Donald P. Gayle, 54, of New Brunswick, N.J., passed the trooper’s unmarked vehicle in the right lane, but failed to move over to the available middle lane in violation of a state law passed last year.

The trooper pulled the vehicle over and when contact was made with Gayle, the officer noticed a number of factors indicating criminal activity might be afoot. A Berlin Police officer in the area stopped to provide backup, while the MSP trooper called for a K-9 team to respond. The K-9 conducted a scan of the vehicle and gave a positive alert for the presence of drugs.

A probable cause search of the van revealed five large nylon bags, each containing three large cellophane-wrapped packages of suspected marijuana. The combined weight of the 15 packaged totaled over 350 pounds. Gayle was arrested and was being held on a $650,000 bond.

The Dispatch will have more on this story next week.