Police find drugs, firearm in wrecked vehicle

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
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HAZLETON — City police arrested a man after allegedly finding marijuana, prescription drugs, a firearm and ammunition and packaging materials inside a wrecked vehicle early Thursday morning.

A police detective and a patrol officer returning to Hazleton after transporting a prisoner to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility spotted a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica cross over the double yellow line on North Church Street just before 2:30 a.m.

The Chrysler crossed oncoming lanes and struck a utility pole at Church and West Maple streets, Police Chief Jerry Speziale said.

Police checked on the driver, identified as Jonathan Torres, 23, of West Magnolia Street, Hazleton.

Torres was operating the vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, Speziale said.

Court records allege Torres kept reaching toward the center console and passenger seat area and refused to keep his hands on the steering wheel.

Torres claimed he lost control of the vehicle while reaching for food.

Police alleged Torres had slurred speech and responses were delayed when answering questions.

An officer spotted a bag containing suspected marijuana by Torres’ feet, court records allege.

Police searched the vehicle allegedly finding more than 47 grams of marijuana in separate bags, a Taurus 9mm handgun with 12 rounds of ammunition, several prescription pills, more than $2,000 cash, three cell phones and numerous bags for packaging.

Torres was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton where he refused medical treatment.

Speziale stated Torres submitted to a blood test.

Torres was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Carmody in Luzerne County Central Court on two counts each of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, and one count each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, firearms not to be carried without a license and driving with a suspended license. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $50,000 bail.

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By Ed Lewis

[email protected]