Keen Observations During Traffic Stop Prompt Additional Investigation/Search Warrant - Meth, Heroin, Ammunition and Altered (sawed off) Shotgun Recovered
During a traffic stop of a vehicle for a license plate and defective equipment violations, a Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy observed several indicators of drug use and in conjunction with vague answers from the driver, applied for and received a search warrant for the vehicle. During the execution of the search warrant, over 1.5 ounces of methamphetamine, a small amount of heroin, and an altered (sawed off) shotgun was recovered.
On November 12, 2018, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Deputy Brad Humphrey observed a Dodge pickup traveling south on Thor. The vehicle’s license plate was unreadable as well as a lighting and equipment violations. Deputy Humphrey conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and contacted the driver, 39-year-old John G. Geaudreau, in the 200 block of S. Thor.
While he contacted Geaudreau, Deputy Humphrey observed a clear plastic pipe, commonly used to smoke illegal controlled substances, with a brown residue in it, inside an outer mesh of a small orange bag on the dashboard. Under the bag, Deputy Humphrey also observed a small baggie that appeared to have brown residue inside. Through his training and experience, Deputy Humphrey suspected the residue in the pipe, and in the baggie, was heroin. After seeing these items and without backup at the scene, Deputy Humphrey asked Geaudreau if he had any concealed weapons in the vehicle. Geaudreau became immediately apprehensive and stated, “I don’t know.” Concerned by this apprehension and answer, Deputy Humphrey asked Geaudreau what he meant and Geaudreau explained he didn’t know “if (his) shotguns were in the vehicle”.
With this information and suspicion, Deputy Humphrey asked Geaudreau to step out of the vehicle, detained him and advised him of his rights, after a backup unit arrived to assist. Geaudreau stated he was not a “hard drug user” and did not use heroin. He explained the orange bag belonged to his friend “Bobby” who he gave a ride to earlier. He said he didn’t realize the bag had been left on the front passenger seat until he applied the brakes and the bag fell from the seat onto the floor. He picked the items up from the floorboard and placed them on the dash shortly before he was stopped. Geaudreau also mentioned “Bobby” left numerous orange hypodermic needle caps and hypodermic needles in the vehicle.
Deputy Humphrey was unable to locate a computer record, using several different spellings for the full name Geaudreau provided for his friend. A computer check of Geaudreau’s name showed a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) had been served. A portion of the TPO stated Geaudreau was prohibited from possessing or obtaining any firearm or other dangerous weapon.
With probable cause to believe evidence of criminal activity (possession of controlled substance, unlawful possession of a firearm) Deputy Humphrey seized Geaudreau’s vehicle pending a search warrant. Without enough evidence at this point to keep Geaudreau detained, he was advised of the pending search warrant and released.
After obtaining a search warrant, Deputy Humphrey located a loaded Browning 12-gauge shotgun in the vehicle. He also located 49 grams (approximately 1.7 ounces) of Methamphetamine, 2 grams of Heroin and numerous hypodermic needles inside the orange bag.
After concluding the search, Deputy Humphrey developed probable cause to charge Geaudreau Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 2nd Degree, Possession of an Unlawful Firearm (short barrel shotgun), Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin.