NEWBURY – A Winthrop man pulled over for speeding on Interstate 95 in Newbury on Tuesday had 10 pounds of marijuana and more than $10,000 cash in his rental car, according to state police.
Joseph Anthony Stella, 24, now faces a possession of a Class D substance to distribute charge, along with four motor vehicle-related offenses.
At his arraignment Wednesday morning in Newburyport District Court, Stella was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail and is due to return on Nov. 1 for a pretrial hearing.
Following his arrest Tuesday, Stella posted $260 cash bail and returned to court the next morning. That fact was offered as proof by his attorney, Jack Humphries, that an Essex County prosecutor’s demand for $5,000 cash bail was excessive.
Instead, Humphries asked for $1,000 cash bail, an amount his client could pay right away.
Essex County prosecutor Michelle Rowland asked for $5,000 cash bail based on the amount of marijuana in Stella’s car and because it was separated into 10 1-pound bags, an indication he was selling it. She also mentioned Stella had an offense of receiving stolen property on his record from Boston Municipal Court in 2013.
In his report, state police Sgt. Kevin O’Neill wrote that he clocked Stella going 94 mph on Interstate 95 south on Tuesday about 3:40 p.m. The posted speed limit is 65 mph.
After pulling over Stella, O’Neill walked by the trunk of Stella’s rented Nissan Sentra and smelled a strong odor of fresh marijuana.
Stella appeared nervous as O’Neill talked to him. O’Neill asked for his license and registration. After handing over his license, Stella was unable to find the registration or the rental agreement. O’Neill radioed for a tow truck since Stella couldn’t find the necessary paperwork.
The trooper then asked Stella to get out of the car and walk to the trunk. O’Neill frisked him and found several keys and a jar containing a small amount of marijuana. O’Neill then opened the trunk with one of the keys and spotted a large duffel bag.
“I opened the bag and observed 10 large plastic bags of marijuana and a large amount of cash ($10,092) in separate bundles,” O’Neill wrote in his report.
Stella was handcuffed and taken to the police station for booking. There, Stella told O’Neill that he “really screwed up” and got tired of “seeing other drug dealers making a lot of money and he busted his (expletive) at UPS for only $9,000 a year,” O’Neill wrote in his report.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.