Two traffic stops uncover cocaine, stolen car

Published 2:01 am Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two arrests made following traffic stops on Interstate 59 earlier this month resulted in the seizure of more than two pounds of cocaine and a vehicle that was listed as having been stolen in New Orleans.

Both arrests were made by Interstate Crime Enforcement Unit Lt. George Dominguez of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.

The cocaine was discovered during a traffic stop on the busy interstate on Oct. 17, where Dominguez saw a vehicle following another vehicle too closely, said Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier said.

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Dominguez pulled over the vehicle and came into contact with the driver, Marcelino Perez Chavez, 27, of 11100 Northwest Eighth St., Ocala, Fla. During the stop, Dominguez picked up cues that made him suspect Chavez was engaged in criminal behavior, so he requested consent to search Chavez’ vehicle. After receiving consent, Dominguez, who has a K-9 unit, found about 2.4 pounds of cocaine hidden in a compartment of the vehicle.

Chavez was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and also was cited for driving too closely to another vehicle. Chavez’ vehicle was seized. Saucier said an investigation is ongoing to determine where the cocaine came from and where it was going.

Saucier estimates the street value of the cocaine to be about $25,000.

A second arrest, which took place Oct. 18, also was conducted on the interstate by Dominguez. After making the traffic stop that resulted in the arrest, Dominguez found what appeared to be a vehicle that had been stolen in New Orleans. Saucier said a traffic violation led Dominguez to pull over the vehicle and when checks were run on the registration of the vehicle, it was found to be listed as having been stolen during the course of a burglary in New Orleans.

The driver, Morlin Dogan, 34, of 4234 St. Anthony Blvd., New Orleans, was taken into custody and charged with possession of stolen property. The car was towed and Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department investigators are now working with the New Orleans Police Department on the case, Saucier said.

Several attempts by the Item to acquire information from the New Orleans Police Department on Friday about the burglary and theft of the vehicle were unsuccessful.