Florida Cop Smells "A Lot of Marijuana" in a Jaguar Driving on the Highway, Finds Near to Nothing


Yes, it's another police incident from Florida – it seems we're having a lot of those lately. This time, we have a Sarasota Sheriff Deputy who was convinced that the passengers of an older generation Jaguar XJ were smoking pot -and lots of it- while driving on the road.

This incident took place on a Friday night in May, but the dash-cam footage from the patrol car was released this week.

In the police report, Sarasota Sheriff's Deputy Dominic Fornal noted that he was following the 2003 Jaguar on the highway at speeds of around 30-35mph (49-56km/h) and that with his patrol car's windows rolled down, he could smell "strong and distinct odor of unburned cannabis" coming out of the British sedan.

After pulling over the Jaguar and approaching the car, he is heard telling the driver, Joseph McNeal, and his girlfriend, "You guys have a lot of marijuana in this car."

"Pardon me?" replies McNeal, a 42-year old Sarasota businessman, who had been arrested on marijuana possession charges back in 2005, but those were later dropped.

"Where's the marijuana in this car? There's a lot of marijuana in this car. I smelled the marijuana when I got behind you guys," said the police officer.

"There is no marijuana in this car," the driver insisted. "There is definitely a whole lot of marijuana in this car," replies Fornal. "Now listen; I am searching this car. There are no ifs, ands or buts about that, but if you guys give me a little bit of marijuana, or a lot, or whatever you guys have, I can work with you guys, because marijuana is a misdemeanor."

The sheriff's deputy then goes on to say that he will search the car, but the driver says he won't give him his permission. The police officer replies that he doesn't have to ask him for permission since he has probable cause.

To make a long story short, Fornal searched the car by himself and found nothing. He then requested the help of a Venice police officer with her dog who also came up empty handed.

Fornal then searched McNeal at the roadside, patting him down and making him remove his shoes and turn his socks inside out. And you guessed it, he found nothing.

"You have some idea what you're putting me through, right?" McNeal asked Fornal, according to a report from the Herald Tribune. "You can picture your family being put through this, right?"

About an hour into the stop, and even though no drugs were found, Fornal read McNeal his Miranda rights and asked him to perform a field sobriety test. The Sarasota businessman refused and McNeal arrested him on the DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge, hand-cuffing him and placing him in the back of the patrol vehicle.

Not the one to quit, the 27-year-old deputy asked for a second dog. Shortly after, Sgt. Troy Sasse arrived with the dog and along with four more deputies, searched the Jaguar again but found nothing.

In his report, Fornal says that they searched the car several more times and at some point, Deputy Justin Potter discovered a marijuana "roach" (slang for the remainder of a joint or blunt) somewhere inside the trunk.

We should note here that while searching, Fornal appeared to have turned off his wireless microphone, something that could be a violation of departmental policy.

As for McNeal, after finding the joint, he was taken to jail, where a breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was only .049, much lower than the .08 level at which Florida considers a driver impaired.

He was also subjected to an urine test that found the presence of THC from marijuana in his system, though McNeal said he had smoked marijuana in the past but not at that night.

Earlier in the week, the State Attorney's Office decided to drop all charges against McNeal since there was no evidence that he was driving under the influence or that he was impaired.

"The lab report indicated there was marijuana in his system," Assistant State Attorney Spencer Rasnake told the Herlad Tirbune. "However, there was no additional corroborative evidence to show the marijuana was put in his system that night and therefore impaired him."



Khalid Alqassimi said... »August 24, 2012

It doesn't show him searching the car.

Zack Baumel said... »August 24, 2012

A roach in the trunk?  YEAAAA RIGGGHT.  How the hell would a roach get in the trunk. . . . unless it was planted by a COP.

Fernando Alvarez said... »August 24, 2012

What, this is not in Russia? Oh sorry, I forgot. This is the american Russia 

SgtBeavis said... »August 24, 2012


aaronbbrown said... »August 24, 2012

 The driver was right not to give the copper mission, nor do you have to give a blood or urine test without a court order in Florida.  If the cop gives you a choice between being arrested and giving up the blood or urine, my advice is to get arrested.

 He did not have probable cause in my opinion, smelling marijuana on a highway is NOT probable cause since he has no way of knowing where that scent is coming from. This is tantamount to a cop smelling marijuana in a neighborhood and then proceeding to search all the houses within the area.  He assumed the smell was coming from that particular car, according to what I've read here, he has no evidence or probable cause whatsoever.  He knew he was on shaky ground, otherwise he would've never asked to search.

 This is what I mean by the sloppiest shoddiest of police work, by redneck creeps who would go 10 miles out of their way t hassle  a minority person, anybody with long hair or anybody driving a foreign car. 

 Now if this was a Midwest cop, Iowa say,  I might cooperate with him.  Troopers especially in the Midwest are a better breed of human being, as a general rule.  But this kind of thing happens anywhere north of Orlando In Florida you'd be wise to stand on your constitutional rights, and get your lawyer on the phone says possible.  Of course all police officers are different, and you never know what you'll get.  Best to decide on a case-by-case basis.

 When I was a teenager, and even as a young adult, I got caught by the police many times with marijuana in South Florida. I was never arrested, the worst thing that ever happened was being handcuffed and put in the back of a car and given a stern talking to before being released, and that was on Fort Lauderdale Beach during spring break. All I had to do was show respect and cooperate, and I was allowed to go on my way, without my weed of course, but they'll always confiscate, and usually destroy it in front of you in order to avoid getting themselves into legal entanglements.

 So disgusting that anybody still have to go through this garbage, and that people get arrested and have their lives ruined, teenagers get criminal records for drug possession that keeps them from getting college loan money, scholarship money, federal assistance etc.  And police officers know this, so all but the most worthless sacks of shit will just overlook marijuana and not even bother stopping someone for it.  This is about ignorance on the part of police officers who have embraced the brainwashing of society's anti-marijuana propaganda.  It's a lie, and everyone who isn't an ignorant moron or willing right-wing cultural sycophant, knows it.

 Back in the late 80s, early 90s when they instituted the zero-tolerance laws in Florida, they would confiscate peoples boats, half-million dollar yacht, homes, cars you name it, not for any actual cannabis, but just for some residue,  residue that they would find by spraying a substance that reveals THC residue that clings to anything the smoke comes into contact with. So if someone had smoked a joint in your house or on your boat in the last week, you could literally end up losing that property. One of the most egregious despicable unconstitutional overreaches of law that's ever been written into the books.

 Is it any wonder that tens of millions of Americans will not call the police under any circumstances, coming to see them as the enemy. Bad laws and cops like these are the reason why people lose respect for the law  and respect for the police.

guest said... »August 24, 2012

IMO cop was trying to score a joint for himself.

PJDN said... »August 24, 2012

Just legalise it!

Jdeloreano said... »August 25, 2012

it looks like the cop has been using a little too much of that stuff, the smell always lingers

Alex said... »August 25, 2012

 In Russia, such cases are common. Therefore, all put the camera in the car.

MaxVonBogus said... »August 25, 2012

The driver should have asked for a police supervisor to come on-scene. I'm not certain the officer has the right to circumvent the driver's constitutional rights under the 4th amendment. 

SgtBeavis said... »August 25, 2012

Oh get out of here with that common sense BS.

James said... »August 25, 2012

Cop was a typical self rightous bastard who knows everything and is NEVER wrong!Hope this guy sues
the crap out of the police departmant and gets this cop off the road and safely behind a desk in the

Illicit Gaines said... »August 25, 2012

Cop ran his plate, found it was McNeal, ran his id, found arrest for weed, hence the LIES & SHAKEDOWN begins.....COPS ARE CREEPS!

Lumpy said... »August 26, 2012

What does this PIG do to the car in front of him when his smells a skunk.

american cops r enemies said... »August 28, 2012

I swear American Cops are such assholes.. straight up assholes just harrassing people since their jobs are so shit fuck the police in the states

Jppaller said... »August 28, 2012

Thank you God there is  a justice!!! I Love you God!!!

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