NEW CASTLE — A traffic stop yielded drugs as well as a driving under the influence arrest.
Officers said Jason P. Merlini, 40, of 1562 Frew Mill Road was stopped about 12:45 a.m. Friday after the observed the several minor traffic violations as he traveled in the Hamilton Street/Pennsylvania Avenue area.
Passengers in Merlini’s car included Robert “Pudgy” Wise Jr., 52, of 814 W. Washington St., in the front passenger seat. Police said he had identified himself as Reginald Wise. In the back seat was Lorenzo David Jackson Jr., 26, who gave addresses of 3 1/2 E. Home St. and 414 Pine St.
Officers said Merlini failed several field sobriety tests and was cited for driving under the influence and summary traffic offenses.
Merlini was taken into custody, police said, but they released his passengers. They then called to have his vehicle towed.
But before the car was removed, the arresting officer said, he saw a pill bottle on the backseat floor behind the passenger seat. Opening the bottle, he said, he found a clear plastic bag containing several pills and “numerous suspected stamp bags” that are used to package heroin. Police had the car towed to the police station.
Police took Merlini to Jameson Hospital, where he submitted to a chemical blood test and was released. Prior to that release, he consented for the police to search his car.
In the back seat, officers said, they found a pill bottle containing seven zolpidem pills, and six stamp bags containing suspected heroin. Under the front passenger seat, police said, was a pill bottle containing 54 Carisoprodol pills and a crack pipe.
Police said Wise will be charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, three counts of possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and false identification to law enforcement.