A Leesburg man had to be medically decontaminated at Waterman Hospital for the amount of fentanyl on him after being arrested for drug possession.
An officer observed a green Kia Soul, of which the passenger was later identified as 33-year-old Nathan Noel Ripp, in the southbound lanes near the intersection of Miller Street and U.S. Hwy. 27/441 around 11 p.m. Monday, according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department. The driving pattern was similar to someone possibly under the influence.
The officer observed the vehicle braking for no reason before turning its blinker on without moving over. Eventually, it moved to turn onto Beam Street. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road prior to turning southbound on Pennsylvania Avenue despite there being no oncoming traffic and no traffic control device in place, the report said.
The report also noted that the vehicle had been traveling with its high beams on while passing other vehicles and approaching from behind, as it appeared a headlight was out without the high beams on, the report said.
The officer thus conducted a traffic stop. The vehicle came to a stop partially in the roadway, so he approached from the passenger side where he saw Ripp sweating profusely despite the temperature being within the upper 50s. He also had an extremely runny nose, the report said.
As Ripp spoke, his voice quivered while he mumbled, and his body shook. He advised that he “just shakes” when asked about it. The driver appeared equally nervous, but both denied the presence of any narcotics within the vehicle and verbally granted consent to search, the report said.
However, when Ripp lifted his hands from his lap, the officer noticed an abundance of white powdery substance on his shirt, pants and floorboard at his feet. He claimed it was “ashes,” but it was pure white whereas ash is typically white and gray. He was asked to exit the vehicle as a result, the report said.
As Ripp did so, the officer observed two small plastic baggies, a cut straw and more clumps of white powder on the passenger seat. He was holding a dollar bill, as well. When asked what was inside, Ripp opened it, and a cloud of white powder blew out. White powdery residue remained that later tested positive for fentanyl, the report said.
Ripp and the driver were detained for the rest of the investigation. A further search of the vehicle revealed a Skittles container next to Ripp’s right thigh containing plastic baggies with residue. Inside his front left pant pocket, a brown waxy substance weighing about four grams was inside of a foil piece. This tested positive for heroin, the report said.
The officer placed Ripp under arrest as a result. The report noted that he spontaneously stated that the substance was fentanyl and how he typically smokes it. Indeed, he had so much fentanyl on him that he required medical decontamination at Waterman Hospital, located at 1000 Waterman Way, prior to being taken to jail.
After being medically cleared, Ripp was transported to Lake County Jail on charges of possession of fentanyl, heroin and drug paraphernalia. He was released once he posted $6,000 bond.