Odor of pot from van leads to arrest

Michael Morse

La PORTE – Police say the odor of marijuana coming from a van was so strong, a deputy noticed it even with the windows of his squad car rolled up.

At about 8:40 a.m. Saturday, La Porte County Sheriff's deputies were providing traffic control at various locations throughout rural Center Township for the Tour de La Porte running events.

At the intersection of Small Road and CR-500W, Sheriff's Sergeants Jon Burger and L. Scott Boswell noticed a white van traveling northbound on CR-500W and, as it passed them, they each detected the odor of the illegal drug emitting from the interior of the vehicle, according to Capt. Derek Allen.

Detective Jim Fish, who was at the intersection of CR-150N and CR-500W, was alerted about the approaching vehicle, and also detected the same odor emitting from the vehicle as it passed, according to Allen.

Deputy Wade Wallace, who was also assigned to the traffic control detail, began to follow the van, and while doing so, "detected the same odor even with his police cruiser windows in the upright position," Allen said.

After observing two traffic infractions, Deputy Wallace initiated a traffic stop in the 6000 west block of Johnson Road, where the driver of the van was identified as 34-year-old Michael M. Morse Jr.

Morse was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana and cited for driving while suspended, according to court records.

He was taken to the La Porte County Jail and later bonded out, according to police. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 8 in Superior Court 3.

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