Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

State police: Man had 50 lbs of weed in his car

LYNN — A man is out on $10,000 bail after state police said he not only dangerously stopped his car on Route 1 Sunday but also had more than 50 pounds of suspected marijuana inside.

“The operator produced a Massachusetts Drivers License during which time he stated it was stupid for him to have stopped the way he did and where he did,” Trooper Mark F. Blanchard wrote in a police report. “When presented with the presence of the marijuana, (the defendant) took responsibility for the marijuana, telling me the weight of the marijuana was in excess of 50 pounds.”

Bruce Vartanian, 48, of 761 Stafford St., Rochdale, was arrested and charged with trafficking in marijuana; and a state highway traffic violation; on Sunday.

A plea of not guilty was entered on Vartanian’s behalf at his arraignment in Lynn District Court Monday.

A trooper patrolling Route 1 South in Saugus reported a red Nissan was stopped on the side of the road and half of the vehicle was in the driveway of the Avalon Motel while the other half jutted out into the roadway.

A woman got out of the car as the trooper approached, saying she was going to get coffee, police said. The driver, later identified as Vartanian, told the trooper he and the woman were meeting a friend staying in room 25 of the motel and then going out to dinner in the North End, according to police.

But the trooper reported that nobody answered the door of the motel room. Meanwhile, the trooper said Vartanian appeared “very nervous” and the woman did not return. Vartanian denied there was anything in the car which the trooper should know about and gave the trooper permission to search the vehicle, according to police.

Vartanian allegedly refused to open the trunk, however. A K9 unit arrived and “alerted,” and police located a black suitcase and a black laundry bag which contained two large bales of suspected marijuana in the car’s trunk, according to police.

Assistant District Attorney Danielle Doherty-Wirwicz requested $10,000 cash bail, citing the quantity of the suspected marijuana.

Court-appointed Defense Attorney Halim Moris said his client had no criminal record and denied the charges. Moris also told the court there would likely be a “strong motion to suppress” the search of the vehicle. He requested personal recognizance or a small cash bail, saying Vartanian “was in the process of changing his life” and reconnecting with his children.

Lynn District Court Judge Stacey Fortes ordered $10,000 cash bail, which Vartanian posted later that afternoon. Vartanian is scheduled to return to court Aug. 27.

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