A traffic stop in Georgia on Feb. 21 led to the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of five firearms and significant quantities of cocaine and marijuana. A 31-year-old Lizzella man, a 31-year-old Houston County woman and a 29-year-old Macon woman all face narcotics trafficking charges in connection with the seized drugs. The Lizzella man and Houston County woman have also been charged with firearms offenses. All of the suspects have been denied bond.
The traffic stop was initiated by Bibb County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Drug Enforcement Administration agents. Initial media reports do not reveal why the Lizzella man’s car was pulled over. During a search of the vehicle, deputies and agents allegedly discovered and undisclosed quantity of marijuana and a handgun. Investigators then obtained a warrant to search the man’s residence. During this search, a shotgun, handgun and materials commonly used to package marijuana were allegedly discovered. A records check is said to have revealed that the handgun had been reported stolen.
Two more homes searched
Investigators then searched two more residences owned by the man. These searches allegedly led to the discovery of a further three firearms, approximately 75 pounds of marijuana, about a kilogram of cocaine and 4 ounces of counterfeit opioid pills. The two women were taken into custody when the homes were searched. They are both being held at the Houston County Jail. The man is being detained at the Bibb County Jail. Initial reports do not indicate if any of the suspects are being represented by criminal defense attorneys.
Searches during traffic stops
Cases like this one often turn on the legality of traffic stops that lead to the discovery of drugs. Police officers violate rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment when they pull vehicles over without a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed, and all of the evidence they collect is considered tainted. This is why individuals suspected of violating narcotics laws should think twice before giving police permission to conduct warrantless searches. When the facts suggest that police officers acted properly, this kind of case is usually resolved when suspects agree to plead guilty in return for lesser penalties.