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Westminster police say plain-clothes detectives arrested man on drug-related charges

Westminster police say plain-clothes detectives arrested man on drug-related charges
A man identified by a Westminster police spokesman as Damian Garcia-Lopez was arrested on drug possession and distribution charges Wednesday. (Courtesy photo)

Westminster police narcotics detectives working a “specialized” plain-clothes detail arrested a man on drug-related charges Wednesday, the department says.

The man, identified by a Westminster police spokesman as Damian Garcia-Lopez, 26, of the 100 block of S. Court St. in Westminster, has been charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of paraphernalia and intent to distribute the substance, according to electronic court records.

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A Westminster Police Department news release, online court records, charging documents and Carroll County Central Booking each spelled the accused’s name differently. Westminster police, the arresting agency, said they made an error in the spelling (and age) on the news release. When asked about the discrepancy, Westminster Capt. Pete D’Antuono said “Damian Garcia-Lopez” was the correct spelling.

The man was also cited for driving a vehicle while using a handheld telephone and leaving a vehicle without stopping the engine — both traffic violations — according to electronic records. The man was released on a $5,000 unsecured personal bond Thursday, court records show.

While in the area of East Green Street and South Ralph Street, Westminster detectives said they saw a black Chrysler — a vehicle they had been told was involved with distributing drugs — and watched the vehicle make numerous stops, police wrote in a statement of probable cause.

Detectives wrote that they saw the driver, later identified as the accused, talking on his cellphone as he maneuvered the vehicle through an alley, prompting police to turn around and follow. Police say they saw the man exit the vehicle while talking on the phone and leaving the car running, court records show.

Detectives called for a K9 to sniff for drugs while they ran the man’s information to issue a traffic ticket, according to the statement. The dog alerted officers to the possibility of narcotics in the vehicle, police wrote.

The officers arrested the man and conducted a search of the vehicle, during which they found an Altoids mints container containing six plastic bags with a white powder they believed to be cocaine, court records show.

The accused did not immediately respond Thursday to a voicemail message left at the phone number listed for him in court records.

Online records do not show a court hearing scheduled for the accused. He did not have an attorney listed in court records.

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