NEWBURYPORT — It started as a routine stop for a broken taillight, but the driver's nervousness and disjointed answers, along with the smell of marijuana, led state police to a big haul — 21 pounds of marijuana stored in the car's trunk.
Arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court, John W. Sullivan, 45, of 82 Eliot Road, Kittery, Maine, was charged with possession to distribute marijuana. According to court documents, police estimate the street value of the drugs is from $20,000 to $40,000. Judge Peter Doyle ordered Sullivan held on $200,000 bond or $20,000 cash bail.
He is also charged with a motor vehicle lights violation because the left rear taillight of his Buick was out, the original reason state Trooper Michael Crowley pulled Sullivan over about 7:20 Wednesday night on the northbound lane of Interstate 95 in Newbury, according to his report.
Finding Sullivan's speech to be "very lethargic," his eyes "glassy" and his shirt torn, Crowley requested Sullivan to step out of his car for a discussion, according to court documents. Explaining he'd been in Massachusetts to visit relatives, Sullivan first told Crowley he'd torn his shirt at his construction job, then later said he hadn't been at work because he was on disability due to a prior injury.
Crowley finally told Sullivan he was having a hard time believing his story, finding it inconsistent. He then advised Sullivan of his Miranda rights.
"I told Sullivan that we had problems on Route 95 with people transporting large amounts of narcotics, guns and currency from points south to points north in Maine and Canada and vice versa," Crowley wrote in his report. "Sullivan let out a deep breath. I asked Sullivan if he was familiar with this kind of stuff. Sullivan stated no and shook his head. I asked if he was involved in that kind of stuff. Sullivan said no."