from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No.
Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant
M. Boes for Appellee
Defendant-appellant Richard M. Wade, Jr. ("Wade")
brings this appeal from the judgment of the Court of Common
Pleas of Seneca County finding him guilty of trafficking in
drugs and possession of counterfeit controlled substances. On
appeal Wade challenges the denial of his motion to suppress.
For the reasons set forth below, the judgment is affirmed.
On October 23, 2015, Officer Nathan Elliott
("Elliott") observed a silver car parked on the cul
de sac in front of a home from which it was suspected that
drug trafficking was occurring. February 18, 2016, Tr. 13. He
had received information that a person by the name of
"Rich" was supplying drugs to dealers in Fostoria.
Id. at 13. He then observed a black male walking
from the vicinity of the home and Elliott suspected that
"some type of transaction had taken place."
Id. at 14. When the vehicle subsequently passed
Elliott's location, he noted that the "front windows
were tinted and in such a manner that you couldn't see
anybody." Id. Elliott then began following the
vehicle. Id. The driver of the vehicle
activated their left turn signal to turn south on Union
Street. Once they arrived at the stop sign, they came to a
complete stop. They then activated their right turn signal
and proceeded northbound onto Union Street.
Id. Elliott then activated his overhead lights and
began a traffic stop at approximately 4:05 p.m. Id.
at 14-15. K-9 assistance was requested due to the suspected
drug activity. Id. at 15.
Upon approaching the vehicle, Elliott learned that the driver
was Brenda Hoose ("Hoose") and the passenger
identified himself as Rich. Id. Elliott suspected
that this was the person about whom the confidential
informants had previously told the drug task force.
Id. at 15-16. The passenger later gave his full name
as Richard Wade Jr. Id. at 16. Elliott informed
Hoose that he had stopped the vehicle due to the turn signal
change and for the window tint. Id. Hoose told the
officer that she had turned right instead of left because of
a train to the left. Id. Elliott noted that Wade
appeared nervous and was very fidgety. Id. at 17.
While Elliott was running Hoose's information to verify
that her license was valid and to issue the citation, Officer
Brandon Bell ("Bell") arrived with his canine,
Ricky, and walked Ricky around the exterior of the vehicle.
Id. at 18. Bell arrived within one minute of the
stop being initiated. Id. at 19. Elliott was still
waiting on dispatch to return the results of his inquiries on
identity and the vehicle at that time. Id. at 20.
Checking the identity of the driver and the passengers was
standard procedure. Id.
During the time Elliott was waiting for dispatch to provide
him with the verification of identity, Ricky alerted to
"the presence of narcotic odors inside or around the
vehicle." Id. Both Hoose and Wade were asked to
exit the vehicle and Elliott conducted a pat down frisk on
Wade for the purpose of officer safety. Id. Elliott
testified to the search as follows.
When I was conducting the Terry pat on Mr. Wade, I started on
the right side. And as I started on the left side, as I was
coming up the inside of his leg, I felt an item. My hand hit
the item, actually, and made a crunching sound. And then
grabbed that item and it was obvious at that time that it was
an item that was inconsistent with any type of human anatomy.
Then placed [sic] Mr. Wade in restraints and he advised me
that I could take the item out. At that time I shook his
pants until the item fell out of his pants and I observed
that [sic] what appeared to be a large bag of prescription
pills. It was in a clear plastic baggie.
Id. at 20-21. The pills were later identified as 230
Percocets and 30 Xanax. Id. at 21-22. When asked,
Wade admitted that he did not have a prescription for them.
Id. at 22. Wade was then arrested for drug
trafficking. Id. Elliott then further searched Wade
incident to his arrest and found $2, 000 in small
denomination bills and four cell phones. Id. The
drugs, cash, and phones were confiscated as evidence.
Id. Hoose was issued a citation and released.
Id. at 24-25.
On October 26, 2015, a complaint was filed in the municipal
court alleging that Wade had committed the offense of
trafficking in drugs. Doc. 1. Wade was bound over to the
Seneca County Court of Common Pleas. Id. On December
9, 2015, the Seneca County Grand Jury indicted Wade on two
counts: 1) Trafficking in Drugs in violation of R.C.
2925.03(A)(2), (C)(2)(a), a felony of the fifth degree and 2)
Possession of Counterfeit Controlled Substances in violation
of R.C. 2925.37(A), (G), a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Doc. 5. Count One was based upon his transporting Alprazolam
and included a specification requesting forfeiture of the
cash and cell phones as being used in the commission of the
offense. Id. Count Two alleged that Wade possessed
counterfeit Oxycodone. Id. Wade was arraigned on
December 23, 2015, and entered pleas of not guilty to the
charges in the indictment. Counsel for Wade filed a motion to
suppress claiming that the stop was not justified, the
detention was beyond the scope of the traffic stop, and the
warrantless search of the vehicle and Wade was not supported
by probable cause. Doc. 2. A second motion to suppress was
filed on January 7, 2016. Doc. 20. This motion alleged ...