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Friday, December 8, 2023

Man arrested after throwing marijuana out car window

Desmond Anthony Curtis
Desmond Anthony Curtis

A Leesburg man was arrested after an officer saw him throw a bag of marijuana out his car window prior to a traffic stop in Groveland.

Desmond Anthony Curtis, 35, was charged with possession of cannabis (more than 20 grams) and tampering with evidence after the incident, which started Thursday night after a Groveland police officer observed a Chevy Tahoe bouncing from line to line inside the second lane on State Road 50, according to the police arrest report.

The officer trailed the driver, later identified as Curtis, and saw the Tahoe partially leave its lane and move into the first lane, causing another vehicle to slow down and swerve to avoid it. The officer also noticed the vehicle’s license plate was not properly illuminated, the report said.

The officer activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop near the intersection of SR 50 and Groveland Farms Road. However, Curtis did not immediately pull over, instead slowly rolling into the parking lot of Rainbow Restaurant. The vehicle continued at a slow roll before turning westbound back onto SR 50, according to the report.

While traveling behind the vehicle, the officer saw a clear plastic baggie fly out of the passenger window and land on the sidewalk. Curtis continued down the road for about a quarter of a mile before stopping in the middle of SR 50 in the second lane. The officer approached the driver’s side window, ordered Curtis out of the vehicle, and detained him. Other officers on scene at the time assisted in removing and detaining the vehicle’s other occupants, the report said.

The officer then found the baggie that was thrown out sitting on the concrete sidewalk. Inside was a green leafy substance suspected to be marijuana, according to the report.

Curtis said he was the one who threw the baggie out of the window from the driver’s seat. He said the marijuana belonged to him, and he had a valid medical marijuana card. Curtis said he threw the marijuana out of the vehicle because he was nervous at the time of the traffic stop, the report said.

Upon searching the vehicle, the officer was able to find a medical marijuana card belonging to Curtis with the expiration year of 2024. However, the officer was unable to check its validity at the time of the stop. Also located was a black bag on the back seat floorboard. Inside was another clear plastic baggie and a separate black plastic baggie containing more marijuana, according to the report.

The contents of the bags tested positive for THC. Each bag was weighed, coming in at 40, 41 and 6 grams (including bag), the report said.

The report noted that none of the marijuana was inside its prescription container, and Curtis was unable to provide proof it was legally purchased. He did have what appeared to be prescription bottles inside the black bag, but all the labeling on the containers was worn off and unreadable, according to the report.

The New York native was placed under arrest and taken to the Lake County Jail, where bond was set at $4,000.  He was also issued a written warning for the traffic offense.

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