A recent traffic stop by a Maryland state trooper in Worcester County led to the recovery of more than 350 pounds of marijuana and the arrest of the driver who was transporting it.
The suspect is identified as Donald P. Gayle, 54, of New Brunswick, NJ. After consultation with the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office, Gayle was charged by Maryland State Police with importation of a controlled dangerous substance into the state, possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of marijuana. He was incarcerated in the Worcester County Detention Center on $650,000 bond.
The investigation began shortly before 4:30 p.m. on December 30, 2012. A trooper from the Berlin Barrack was on the slow shoulder of southbound Rt. 113, north of Germantown Road, near Berlin. He was stopped in his unmarked patrol vehicle, but had his emergency red and blue lights activated, which were visible to passing traffic.
The trooper observed a Toyota Sienna van pass his patrol car and fail to move over into an available lane, which is a violation of the state's move over law. The trooper stopped the van for the violation on southbound Rt. 113 south of Germantown Road.
During contact with the driver and only occupant of the van, later identified as Gayle, the trooper observed a number of factors that indicated criminal activity may have been underway. A Berlin Police Department officer who was nearby stopped as a backup, while the trooper called for a State Police drug dog team to respond.
A trooper and drug dog quickly responded and conducted a canine scan. The drug dog gave a positive alert for the presence of drugs.
Troopers then conducted a probable cause search of the van. They recovered five large nylon duffel bags, which each contained three large cellophane wrapped packages of suspected marijuana. The combined weight of the 15 packages of marijuana was more than 350 pounds.
Gayle was placed under arrest and taken to the Berlin Barrack for processing. Contact was made with the ICE Homeland Security Investigations task force and an agent responded to assist. Also assisting was a member of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team.
The investigation is continuing.