Traffic stop leads to drug bust

Kirk Shaffer

La PORTE – A La Porte City Police officer is being praised for a traffic stop that led to the arrest of the driver after a large quantity of narcotics was found in the vehicle.

Being held in the La Porte County Jail on a $755 cash bond is 55-year-old Kirk Shaffer of La Porte, who is charged with a felony count of possession of methamphetamine, and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, according to the La Porte County Sheriff's Department.

Just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Officer Adam Jaskowiak was on patrol in the area of Lincoln Way and Monroe Street when he saw a dark-colored Chevrolet Impala traveling west on Lincoln Way. He saw the vehicle commit a traffic violation and conducted a traffic stop in front of La Porte Hospital on Lincoln Way, according to Capt. Bill Degnegaard.

While speaking with Shaffer about the traffic violation, the officer "located inside the vehicle over 50 grams of methamphetamine, over 6 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a few prescription stimulants, and a large amount of cash," Degnegaard said.

Shaffer was arrested and taken to the jail, where he awaits his next court appearance on Friday in La Porte Circuit Court.

"We would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of our officers like Officer Jaskowiak," Degnegaard said. "With his dedication and training he was able to recover drugs from a traffic stop and help make this a safer place for people to live, visit and work.

"This was an example of some outstanding investigative work which led to an arrest."

Shaffer was arrested in a similar manner in La Porte in 2016, according to court and News-Dispatch records.

In January of that year, the van he was driving was pulled over for a traffic stop on Oberreich Street for improper plates and failure to use a turn signal. During the stop, a free air sniff was conducted by a La Porte Police K-9, who alerted to the presence of illegal drugs, police said at the time.

A search of the vehicle turned up several precursors used for making methamphetamine, along with bottles containing an unknown liquid and pseudoephedrine on Shaffer's person, police said.

Shaffer, a Kingsford Heights resident at the time, was charged with felony counts of possession of methamphetamine and possession of precursors, along with several traffic infractions, according to court records.

Under a plea agreement approved in April 2016, he pleaded guilty to the felonies and was sentenced by Judge Thomas Alevizos to consecutive one-year terms, though the jail time was suspended in lieu of two years' probation, according to court records.

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