Large Amount of Suspected Fentanyl Pills Seized on Traffic Stop
During a traffic stop, Deputies seized a large amount of suspected Fentanyl pills, Methamphetamine, Oxycodone pills, money, and drug paraphernalia associated with the sale and use of illegal drugs. Both the driver and passenger were arrested and charged with several felonies. The vehicle was seized pending a search warrant.
On April 9, 2022, at approximately 1:35 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for failure to display a front license plate and excessively dark tinted windows near S. Hayford Road and W. 6th Avenue.
Instead of stopping and pulling over to the right as required by law, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as 33-year-old Edvin N. Johnson, continued on his way as he looked back in his rear-view mirror.
With additional Deputies and Airway Heights Police Officers approaching with their lights and sirens activated, Johnson turned into a private drive in the 100 block of N. Hayford Road and stopped.
Both Johnson and the passenger, identified as 26-year-old Melissa S. Hernandez, followed commands and were safely detained.
Johnson was advised of his rights and agreed to answer questions. He stated he was merely looking for a safe place to pull over. Deputy Turner explained the stop was initiated in a safe place, with a wide shoulder, and he should have stopped then. Johnson explained he wasn’t trying to run, he just didn’t stop right away. He also admitted he had two misdemeanor warrants in other counties for Driving while Suspended 2nd Degree. When asked why his license was suspended, Johnson said it was for attempting to elude law enforcement.
Hernandez told Deputy Ortiz several “Mexi’s” (aka Fentanyl pills) were scattered around where she was seated. Hernandez agreed to allow Deputies to enter the car and retrieve the “Mexi’s”. Finding no documented occasions where Hernandez had been found to be in possession of illegal drugs in Washington, she was provided a Drug Treatment Referral Form. (In Washington, simple possession of an illicit drug is not a crime until the person is found to be in possession a third time after two previous documented incidents. On the third and subsequent times, the person can be charged with a misdemeanor crime.)
Johnson stated the car belonged to Hernandez, meaning he could not grant consent for a search, and he added nothing in the vehicle belonged to him.
Deputy Loos located a small, locked safe inside the vehicle, and Hernandez provided the combination to the Deputies. Inside, a large amount (approximately 1000) of pills believed to be Fentanyl (Mexi’s) were located inside a plastic bag. Also found were several baggies, more Fentanyl pills, and four pink 10 mg Oxycodone pills. Mexi’s are commonly sold on the street for $10 or more per pill.
Deputy Ortiz located a bag in the back seat that contained a blue, clear plastic jewelry box with a large amount of a white crystalline substance believed to be Methamphetamine. The substance was later field tested and showed a presumptive positive result. The bag also had male toiletry items inside and was positioned directly behind the driver’s seat.
Due to the large amount of suspected drugs, the search was terminated, and the vehicle was seized pending a search warrant.
A check of Johnson’s name revealed he is a 4-time convicted felon (Attempt to Elude, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 2nd Degree, Robbery 1st Degree) and that his driving privileges are still suspended.
A check of Hernandez’s name revealed she had a felony conviction in Idaho for Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Both Johnson and Hernandez were booked into the Spokane County Jail for two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. Johnson’s bond was set at $10,000, and Hernandez’s bond was set at $2,500, both by Spokane County Superior Court Commissioner John Stine.
Johnson was also charged with Driving while Suspended 2nd Degree and Failure to Stop/Yield for Law Enforcement.
The drugs, cash, and paraphernalia seized were booked into evidence.
Johnson was issued infractions for Excess Window Tint and No Insurance.
On April 11, 2022, Spokane Valley Investigative Unit (SVIU) Detectives obtained and served a search warrant for the vehicle driven by Johnson. Detectives recovered a loaded pistol and some additional, small amounts of illegal drugs. Johnson will be charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm 1st Degree in the near future.