JONESBORO, Ark. – A Gee Street traffic stop led to an arrest for meth when an officer’s K9 reacted several times to the vehicle during a sweep.
It happened at about 3:23 p.m. on Gee Street in Jonesboro, when Investigator Jason Chester began a traffic stop on a black SUV with no vehicle tags. As the vehicle pulled into Hays, 1000 Gee Street, a passenger tried to exit the vehicle and walk off. Mark Raymond Cline, 47, of Bono, exited from the rear seat on the driver’s side before Chester ordered him back into the car and he complied.
Chester made contact with the driver, Maryann Michelle Bobbitt, 19, of Bono, and told her why he was stopping the vehicle. Around this time, Officer Austin Morgan, with his K9 partner Argus, arrived on the scene and began to help Chester at his request.
“I got my K9 partner Argus out of my car, and after a brief period of acclimation, I took him to the front of the car and had him begin sniffing the exterior,” Morgan reported. “On the initial pass, Argus’ breathing distinctly changed around front driver side door and the rear of the car. He began to sniff harder and more intently through his nose. When we came to the driver door again on the second pass, without any prompting from me, Argus jumped to the open driver window.”
The K9 officer began to audibly snort, Morgan said, alerting him of the odor of narcotics. Morgan said he knew through training with the dog that it was a sign something was in the vehicle.
“I spun Argus around and had him sniff the driver side of the car two more times and each time he would stop at the driver window and jump up to open window on his own and exhibit this breathing change,” Morgan reported. “I was confident in what I was seeing in Argus’ breathing, body posture, and search pattern changes that he had located the odor of narcotics on, or coming from inside the vehicle.”
With a giant red flag raised in the minds of the two officers, a search began of the vehicle. A small plastic bag containing suspected crystal methamphetamine was found in the pocket on the back of the driver seat – directly in front of where Cline tried to exit the vehicle. Cline was arrested.
As this was happening, dispatch advised Chester that the driver, Bobbitt, had two failure to appear warrants out of Jonesboro. She, too, was then arrested. Both suspects were taken to Craighead County Detention Center. Cline faces charges of possession of a schedule I substance, less than two grams – a felony. Bobbitt was cited on her FTA charges and given a court date of March 27.
The evidence was collected and logged into the evidence locker at JPD.