ISP Trooper Apprehends Armed Drug Smuggler Leaving Chicago
Springfield, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Troopers patrolling Interstate 55 seized 350 grams of cannabis, drug packaging materials and a loaded .380 semi-automatic handgun during a routine traffic stop, officials announced today.
On Thursday, May 31, at approximately 4:00 p.m., an ISP Trooper stopped a vehicle on I-55 southbound near Springfield for a vehicle equipment violation. Upon further investigation, the Trooper uncovered approximately 350 grams of cannabis inside the Dodge Charger, with an estimated street value of $1,500. The driver, Howard Caruthers, 24 of Columbia, Missouri, was charged with felony possession, manufacture and intent to deliver more than 30 grams of cannabis, and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
“ISP Troopers work hard and risk their lives daily to keep motorists and roads safe,” said ISP Colonel Mark Piccoli. “This is a fine example of our officers go the extra mile to uncover illegal firearm and criminal drug activity during a routine traffic stop,” he added.
The Trooper also observed numerous hanging air fresheners from the inside rearview mirror and smelled a strong odor of raw cannabis emanating from within the vehicle. The Trooper asked Caruthers to exit the vehicle, and upon doing so Caruthers locked the doors and placed the key in his pocket.
Zone 4 Investigators and a K9 unit responded to the scene. The K9’s sniff around the vehicle resulted in a positive alert for narcotics emanating from the vehicle. The driver surrendered his keys to the vehicle and a search was conducted.
The search of the vehicle resulted in locating a loaded Bersa .380 semi-automatic pistol in the driver’s door panel. The Bersa .380 had 13 rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.
The search also revealed a tan plastic grocery bag containing two clear plastic bags which contained approximately 350 grams of cannabis on the front passenger floorboard.
ISP Investigators seized Caruthers’ white Dodge Shelby Charger for Article 36 proceedings.
Caruthers refused to cooperate with police and was transported to the Sangamon County Jail. Caruthers bonded out on $7500, and is set to appear in Sangamon County Court on 6/14/12.
The public is reminded that all persons are presumed innocent until the charges are proven in a court of law.
350 grams of cannabis
.380 semi-automatic handgun