Call from Concerned Citizen Leads to Two Arrests on Drug Charges

April 2, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested two persons on drug charges Friday as the result of a call from a concerned citizen .

Chief Thomas Stufano says Smithville Police Investigators working an undercover operation responded to the Walmart parking lot after a citizen called reporting that numerous people were getting in and out of two vans bearing out of state plates. \"Upon arrival and contact with the occupants, officers detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from inside one of the vans. Further investigation noted that the occupants had been smoking the substance and were intoxicated as a result. The subjects were arrested and additional drugs were found.\"

Stufano says \"Smithville Police were advised that the defendants were in the area selling magazines door to door. A check with the city clerk's office could not provide a valid occupational license for the sales.

Arrested were 23 year old Veronica Ferrer of 3730 South Delsea Drive in Vineland New Jersey and 22 year old Cedric Antoine Sims of 604 North Avon Street in Rockford, Illinois. Both listed their occupation as Sales Managers supervising a crew of approximately 6 people each working in this area.\"

The two were charged with Simple Possession of Drugs and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond each. The vans were also towed.

In another case, Smithville Officers working an enhanced DUI enforcement detail Sunday night, spotted 31 year old Cristobal Vazquez of 261 Park Drive, Rock Island driving his vehicle in a reckless manner and at a high rate of speed on Highway 56.

Chief Stufano says \"Upon stopping the vehicle, officers smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Vazquez' breath. Standardized sobriety tests confirmed that he was intoxicated. Also present at the scene was a substantial amount of a schedule III & IV narcotics along with some cash. Vazquez was arrested for DUI 2nd Offense and Possession of Schedule III & IV controlled substance for resale. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $13,000 bond. Vazquez was also ticketed for Violation of the Open Container Law, Unregistered vehicle, No License and No Insurance. The Vazquez' vehicle was impounded pending forfeiture under the state's DUI & Drug Law. He admitted to the officers that he was an illegal alien from Mexico working at one of the local nurseries.\"

In other news, the Smithville Police Department is stepping up it's DUI enforcement as summer approaches. High Schools are getting ready to graduate and parties and proms have already been planned. In a planned effort by the Smithville Police and the Tennessee Traffic Safety Council, literature and visual effects are being used to convey a strong public safety message. Parents are encouraged to set workable parameters with their children during party seasons that involve driving a motor vehicle.

Some Prom and Graduation Celebration tips include:

? Make sure your teen has a plan for the evening and that you know the plan.
? If your teen is driving, check the brakes, fluids and tires before they use the vehicle.
? Tell your teen not to drink and drive and lead by example.
? Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to transport.
? Take stock of the alcohol in your home.
? If you're using a limousine service-allow no booze or drugs. Ask parents and passengers to sign a contract allowing the driver to phone the parents if alcohol or drugs are detected.
? Work with the school or a post-prom party host to have food, activities and a safe place for the teens to gather afterwards.
? Communicate with other parents and school officials.
? Insist that your teen and his/her passengers wear a seat belt and again lead by example.
? Parents remember to enforce the rules that you set.
? Teens remember to follow the plans you made with your parents.

Chief Stufano says \"the Smithville Police Department commends our merchants and residents for their strong support in keeping our roadways free from Drug and Alcohol abuse. Your reporting of suspicious activity is making a difference!\"

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