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Hit and Run Investigation Turns Into Cocaine Bust

Inside the Police Reports: The passenger of a vehicle thought to have fled the scene of a hit and run in unincorporated Norcross was arrested on cocaine possession and false identity charges.

Police may have pulled over the wrong vehicle involved in a reported hit and run case earlier this month, but they still arrested someone in the car for illegal drug activity and lying to police.

According to the police report, Gwinnett County officers were on the lookout for a blue minivan after it allegedly struck a vehicle around 12:30 a.m. Sept. 9 in unincorporated Norcross.

The incident occurred on Singleton Road and the car fled toward Jimmy Carter Boulevard in unincorporated Norcross. Officers in the area spotted a matching description of a damaged car in that direction, so they pulled it over.

They spoke with the driver and two passengers. None of them had any ID with them, so they wrote down their names and date of births on an officer's notepad.

But the date for the passenger in the backseat wasn't correct. When one officer asked him in Spanish how old he was, he kept scratching things out. He first wrote down 7-8-87, then changed it to 7-17-87.

The officer asked him, "Are you sure?", which prompted the man to say his birthday was really 07/25/1987.

After all that, his information still was not found in the system, according to the report.

While they talked, officers smelled the strong odor of unburned marijuana coming from the vehicle. The driver admitted to smoking marijuana earlier that day, but he had nothing on him, so he gave consent to police to search the van.

On top of all the trash, beer bottles and fast food containers on the car floor, police found a bag of white powder. The officer wrote in the report that it was on top of the trash near the backseat, as if the passenger had dropped it. The man with the changing birthday had been sitting there, according to the report.

The driver and passengers denied owning the bag and its contents, which, when tested, scored positive for cocaine.

The man sitting in the back was arrested on charges of cocaine possesson and giving a false date of birth. That was before police found a second small bag, though, discovered in the man's pants pocket.

Further investigation revealed that the vehicle had not been involved in the hit and run, even though the damage to the van looked recent. Both the driver and front passenger were released.

Inside Police Reports runs regularly every week. The information is based solely on police incident reports provided on request.

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