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State v. Wade

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Seneca

April 10, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RICHARD M. WADE, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Appeal from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 15-CR-0229

          Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant

          Angela M. Boes for Appellee

          OPINION

          WILLAMOWKSI, J.

         {¶1} 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.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} 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 ...


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