SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill traffic stop led to the arrest of a 62-year-old man on numerous drug charges, including trafficking in methamphetamine.
Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputy Trevor Jones was conducting a security check at a convenience store about 6:15 p.m. on April 6 when he saw a gold Ford Windstar minivan parked at one of the gas pumps. The deputy noticed that the decal attached to the Florida tag was expired as of February 2008. A query of the tag revealed it was no longer assigned to a vehicle and had been returned to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Pasco County.
After the driver pulled away from the gas pumps, Jones conducted a traffic stop on Commercial Way and the driver identified himself as Thomas Abel.
According to a police report, Abel told the deputy “he found the tag at a house he’d been staying at” so he decided to attach it to the minivan. Abel said he had recently purchased the minivan and it was not registered. He was unable to provide a title and/or a bill of sale.
Deputies said Abel gave consent for a search of the minivan, which produced two clear baggies containing a crystal-like substance; two cut straws; two baggies containing five white pills each; one clear baggie containing one pink pill; one clear-glass smoking pipe; 16 clear baggies each containing brown powder; a large amount of clear unused baggies and a digital scale.
Abel declined to discuss the items with the deputy.
The substances were later tested and weighed. The crystal-like substance tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The items weighed 10.5 grams and 10.9 grams. The white pills were methadone hydrochloride, a Schedule 2 controlled substance. The pink pill was Clonazepam, a Schedule 4 controlled substance. The brown powder tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. The total weight of the 16 baggies was 4.9 grams.
Abel was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine; trafficking in a controlled substance; two counts of possession of a controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; driving with a suspended/revoked license; and having an unregistered motor vehicle. He was taken to the Hernando County Detention Center, where bond was set at $157,000.