GALLPOLIS — A Columbus man recently pleaded guilty to possession of around 83 grams of cocaine discovered during a traffic stop two months after he had just gotten out prison.
Danjuma Marshall, 36, was traveling eastbound on US 35 with three other passengers, the driver being his wife, on December 31, 2016. Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Atwood initiated a traffic top after watching a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 cross over the outside road line.
According to Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren, the vehicle was on the exit ramp connected to State Route 160 and stopped at the stop sign at 7:39 p.m. the day in question.
“Atwood approached the vehicle,” said Holdren. “When he was talking to her (Marshall’s wife), he noticed her hand was shaking as she was bringing a cigarette to her mouth. She had a scared expression during the conversation. She indicated the steering of the vehicle was not functioning properly and pulling to the side. At that point, the trooper noticed the odor of raw marijuana.”
The trooper led the driver out of the car and explained potential charges. He waited for another trooper to arrive before searching the vehicle. Atwood asked Marshall to exit the vehicle and noticed several pieces of marijuana residue fall off his lap and into the grass. The trooper questioned Marshall about the marijuana and Marshall claimed he had just been smoking some on the way down.
Marshall’s person was then searched and revealed more marijuana in his pockets along with nearly a thousand dollars in cash. Atwood then took to searching the vehicle and located a plastic cover which was used to cover a vehicle fuse box. A further search of the inside of the vehicle revealed no contraband. Eventually, the hood of the engine compartment was opened and the trooper noticed the fuse box was missing its cover. Behind it was the vehicle’s battery and between the battery and side of the engine compartment, the trooper noticed a bulge of bubble wrap which would lead to the discovery of 83 grams of cocaine.
Marshall admitted the cocaine was his and he had been released only two months prior to having served an eight year period in prison.
According to Holdren’s colleague Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Fisher, Marshall had previously been discovered trafficking drugs along the same route between Columbus and Huntington in another trafficking offense.
Marshall faces up to 11 years in prison for his actions and is anticipated to be sentenced in the Gallia Court of Common Pleas Monday at 10 a.m.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.