Andrew George Benitez of Deerfield Beach, Florida was arrested Tuesday after he was allegedly found with marijuana in the trunk of his vehicle, news sources indicate. The alleged drugs were discovered by officers during a routine traffic stop. Benitez, 19, was booked into the Broward County Jail on charges of possession of marijuana and driving with unsafe equipment. He was later released from jail on his own recognizance. It is not yet known whether he has retained an attorney.
Reports say the incident occurred at around 11:00 Tuesday evening when an officer pulled Benitez’s black Honda over for a headlight malfunction. The traffic stop occurred on the 10900 block of Westview Drive. When the officer approached the vehicle, Benitez reportedly told him that he knew the headlight was not working. The officer then reportedly detected the smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. The officer asked the defendant whether he had anything illegal in the vehicle, to which Benitez reportedly replied, “You don’t have a reason to search my car.”
The officer then reportedly told the man that his vehicle smelled of marijuana. “My car does not smell like weed. I know that because I had it detailed today,” Benitez reportedly replied. Another officer responded to the scene with a trained K9 unit to search the car. That is when Benitez allegedly told the officers “You don’t have a right to search my vehicle because the weed smell is on me, not in my car,” reports say. A spokesperson from the Coral Springs police department later responded to that comment, saying, “If you smell marijuana, it gives you probable cause to search the vehicle. The officer detected the marijuana.”
The police K9 unit sniffed out the car and led the officers to the vehicle’s trunk, where they reportedly found a bag of marijuana. The officers then placed Benitez under arrest. He reportedly admitted later that he and his friend bought the drugs. Reports did not say whether the girlfriend, who remained unnamed in public reports, or the purported dealer was arrested.
Benitez was not the only South Florida man to be charged with drug possession recently. Raymond Schmamis of Deerfield Beach, Florida was arrested recently after he was accused of having marijuana plants in his home, reports indicate. He was booked into police custody on charges of manufacturing marijuana and assigned a $6,000 bail bond. It is not yet known whether he has retained legal representation.
Reports say the bust occurred along the 2500 block of Albatross Road in Delray Beach. Police responded to the scene after receiving a call regarding a naked man. When officers showed up to the scene they found Schmamis completely naked; he reportedly ran at the officers and attempted to break their cruiser’s windows. It is not clear whether Schmamis was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time.
The officers placed Schmamis under arrest and searched the area surrounding his home. According to reports, they found C02 canisters and marijuana plants in the man’s yard. A search of the home turned up a purported 19 separate baggies of marijuana and $5,000 in a safe.