Traffic stop leads to record heroin seizure
by Rebecca Johnston
rjohnston@cherokeetribune.com
October 13, 2012 01:58 AM | 4627 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant speaks with two of his officers, Mark Gavala and Ken Furman, outside the precinct soon after becoming chief in May. Recently, a routine traffic stop netted Canton police what could be one of the largest quantities of heroin seized in Cherokee County. “This is as far as I know the largest heroin seizure in the county,” Merchant said. “ It was the result of a minor traffic offense and the officer in this case did a superb job.”<br>staff/file
Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant speaks with two of his officers, Mark Gavala and Ken Furman, outside the precinct soon after becoming chief in May. Recently, a routine traffic stop netted Canton police what could be one of the largest quantities of heroin seized in Cherokee County. “This is as far as I know the largest heroin seizure in the county,” Merchant said. “ It was the result of a minor traffic offense and the officer in this case did a superb job.”
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CANTON — A routine traffic stop netted Canton police what could be one of the largest quantities of heroin seized in Cherokee County.

A Canton man, Joshua Keith Dean, age 32, was arrested in the stop and charged with trafficking heroin for possessing 9.6 grams of the Substance 1 drug, according to police reports.

Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant said he was pleased with the way his officers conducted themselves in the traffic stop.

“This is as far as I know the largest heroin seizure in the county,” Merchant said. “ It was the result of a minor traffic offense and the officer in this case did a superb job.”

Dean is also facing misdemeanor charges of possession of drug related objects and safety restraint violation, reports show.

He is being held at the Cherokee County jail without bond.

The situation developed after a Canton patrol officer spotted Dean driving a pick-up truck on Juniper Street near the Days Inn on Riverstone Parkway.

Dean was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the officer’s report, so he pulled the vehicle over. When he went over to speak to the driver, he saw there was a woman in the vehicle also, and that her hands were shaking.

“I noticed she was still very shaky and was holding her legs and arms close to her body,” the officer said in the report. “I also noticed her eyes were red.”

The woman, who was identified in the report as Dean’s fiancé, said the couple had been to Walmart.

The officer then noticed a small scale which he believed was used to weigh narcotics and found some sleeping pills in her purse.

Dean gave permission for the officers to search his vehicle, according to the report, and they located a small black container with numerous syringes, a clear glass pipe, a spoon and a baggie containing a substance that later tested positive to be heroin.

Dean said the items were his, the report states, and that his fiancé had nothing to do with the substance.

Cherokee Multi-agency Narcotics Squad Commander Phil Price said that heroin is becoming more common on the streets of Cherokee County.

“As prescription pain medication and drugs like oxycotin are becoming harder to get, the fall back drug is heroin,” Price said. “They are substituting heroin and while they are both very addictive, I think heroin is more dangerous; it has been a controlled substance for many years.”
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