COLUMBUS – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed a felony drug charges against an Ohio man after a traffic stop in Ottawa County. As a result of the traffic stop, troopers seized 11 pounds of cocaine, a street value of approximately $162,000.
On December 6, at 1:31 p.m., troopers stopped a 2019 Ford Taurus with Ohio registration for a window tint violation on the Ohio Turnpike. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. During a probable cause search, tamper marks were observed on the dashboard. Further investigation revealed an after-market modification under the dashboard, which was determined to be a hidden compartment. The compartment was opened and was found to contain five packages of cocaine and United States currency.
The driver, Rafael L. Patterson, age 32, of Warren, Ohio, was incarcerated in the Ottawa County Jail and charged with possession of drugs and trafficking in cocaine, both first-degree felonies. He was also charged with hidden compartments in vehicles, a third-degree felony.
If convicted, Mr. Patterson could face up to 25 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
Ohio Senate Bill 305 prohibits designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance. It also prohibits operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance. The Bill prohibits a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.