33-year-old Jawara McIntosh was driving the vehicle on Route 17 north when a Mahwah officer observed him driving erratically and cutting off another driver.
When the officer approached the car and spoke with Mr. McIntosh, he began to suspect that Mr. McIntosh was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer also noticed several open bottles of alcohol in the car.
When officers asked the two (2) occupants of the car - Mr. McIntosh and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Carlotta Leslie - about their destination, the pair gave conflicting answers.
Additional officers arrived on the scene, and Mr. McIntosh gave them permission to search the vehicle. During the search, the officers spotted two suitcases in the trunk. The suitcases had a strong odor of raw marijuana. The officers looked inside the suitcases and found three (3) large bundles of marijuana. Later, it was determined that the marijuana weighed approximately 65.5 pounds.
Although both Mr. McIntosh and Ms. Leslie denied any knowledge that they were carrying marijuana, they were arrested and charged with possession of more than 25 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana. Additionally, Mr. McIntosh was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and driving with a suspended license.
Intent to distribute marijuana in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. According to the statute, intending to distribute more than 25 pounds of marijuana is a first degree felony. If Mr. McIntosh and Ms. Leslie are convicted of this charge, they could each be sentenced to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and fined up to $300,000.00.
Shortly after their arrests, both Mr. McIntosh and Ms. Leslie were being held at the Bergen County Jail on separate $200,000.00 bonds.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled "Mahwah Police: Mass. Couple Had 65 Pounds of Pot in Rented Car."
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