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Nervous behavior during traffic stop prompts police to search suspect’s pickup

An Ocklawaha man was arrested for drug possession when his nervous behavior prompted police officers to search his vehicle.

Michael Griffin Fielder
Michael Griffin Fielder

An officer observed the driver of a gray Dodge pickup truck, later identified as 42-year-old Michael Griffin Fielder, traveling southbound on U.S. Hwy. 27/441 near the intersection with Shadow Hill Road at 12:22 a.m. May 1, according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department. The vehicle had two rear high-mounted lamps emitting a white light without the brakes activated and rear side windows that looked too dark. 

The officer proceeded to initiate a traffic stop. Upon approaching the vehicle, he asked Fielder to roll down the rear windows about halfway. He then used a tint meter for the rear side windows which showed a reading of 4%, below the legal minimum of 15%, the report said. 

Fielder showed signs of nervous behavior as the officer explained his reasons for the stop as seen by his shaky hands and frequent reaching around for unknown objects. Additionally, the officer observed Fiedler to exhibit signs of narcotic usage, including fresh scabs, track marks and pupil size. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center dispatch also advised that he was currently on probation for possession of a controlled substance, the report said. 

The officer asked for consent to search the vehicle for narcotics, to which Fielder denied both consent and the presence of. Based on his behavior, the officer requested a K-9 unit respond to the scene. They arrived to conduct a free-air sniff around the outside of the vehicle and positively alerted to the odor of narcotics within, the report said. 

As a result, a probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted. Two uncapped syringes and one capped syringe were found inside the center console. One of the uncapped syringes was used and contained about .3mL of a clear liquid substance, with the capped syringe containing about .5mL of the same thing. This tested positive for methamphetamine, the report said. 

A clear plastic wrapper that was burnt and sealed containing a white powdery residue was located with the needles along with a folding knife containing a burnt spoon with a piece of dried from wet cotton on top. This also tested positive for methamphetamine. Inside of the driver’s side cupholder was a cut blue straw containing a white powdery residue. An additional quarter-sized piece of a white, chalky substance was located that tested positive for methamphetamine and would be sent off for further testing, the report said. 

The officer subsequently detained Fielder and read his rights, to which he stated he understood and wished to speak with the officer. He advised the syringes were from when he “used to use.” He admitted they were his and contained methamphetamine. However, he later stated the liquid substance was not methamphetamine and denied his earlier statement, the report said. 

Fielder was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. He was transported to Lake County Jail with bond set at $6,000.  

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