December 5, 2016

Key West man faces drug charges

A Key West man who was driving erratically is facing drug charges after a traffic stop Friday afternoon.

Deputy Matthew Corey stopped the white Chrysler at 1:45 p.m. Friday after he spotted it speeding northbound at 17th Street in Marathon. He had received previous information from a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent who had seen the vehicle passing in a no passing zone at the 15 mile marker of the highway and driving carelessly on the Seven Mile Bridge.

When he pulled the car over, he approached the driver, identified as Dwayne Ritchie of Key West. As he spoke with Ritchie, he could smell the distinct odor of marijuana coming from inside the car.

As he spoke with Ritchie, he noticed Ritchie was nervous. When he asked for Ritchie’s identification, Ritchie indicated it was in a backpack behind the passenger seat.

Deputy Josh Baer arrived on the scene as backup. The deputies asked Ritchie if they could retrieve the identification from the backpack for safety reasons. Ritchie agreed.

In the backpack, the deputies found a Glock handgun and two magazines with 20 rounds of ammunition. They also found what looked like a ledger containing information which appeared to be related to drug sales. In the main compartment of the backpack they found 218 grams of marijuana packaged for sale.

Ritchie was arrested. As he was being transported to jail, he said he was traveling from Key West to Marathon to sell the marijuana.

He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

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