Three Charged With Heroin Possession After Seat Belt Stop
Sparta police arrest trio on Route 15 south on Friday.
A couple from Tobyhanna, Pa., and a Florida man were arrested Friday afternoon on charges of heroin possession and other violations after they were stopped for allegedly not wearing seatbelts and having a cracked windshield, Sparta police said.
According to the police report, Sparta Cpl. Marc Rubino was on routine patrol traveling along Route 15 south at 2:38 p.m. when he allegedly observed a northbound red Dodge Durango with a large crack in the vehicle's windshield.
The police report said Rubino began to follow the vehicle to observe its operation, when he said he saw that the male driver and front seat passenger were not wearing their seatbelts.
Police said the Durango was stopped a short time later. When questioned by the officer, the driver, who was later identified as 35-year-old Warren Winter from New Port Richie, Fla., seemed confused as to where he was coming from and where he was going, according to the officer.
When Winter stepped out of the vehicle, he allegedly dropped a single Xanax pill on the ground, police said. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, Rubino reportedly found three bags of heroin stamped “MADE OFF” in the area of the driver’s seat.
Numerous other pieces of paraphernalia also were found throughout the interior of the vehicle, according to police.
The other two passengers in the vehicle later were identified as two former Newton residents, 25-year-old Paul Simmons II and 26-year-old Erika DeGraw, according to police. Police that that DeGraw later surrendered at the scene 31 bags of heroin and a used bloodied uncapped hypodermic needle which she had placed in her bra.
All three were arrested and transported to Sparta police headquarters for processing, according to police.
Police said Winter was charged with possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seatbelt, and operating a motor vehicle with a cracked windshield.
Police also reported that Simmons and DeGraw both were charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Simmons also was additionally charged with not wearing a seatbelt, the police report said.
The three are scheduled for a first appearance in Sparta Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 28 to answer to the charges, according to the police report.
All three were released from custody several hours later on their own recognizance, the report said. The Durango has since been impounded, according to police.
Sgt. Jeffrey Mase, and Patrol Officers Joseph Pensado and Richard Smith assisted with the investigation, according to the police report.