Two local men are facing drug charges after being pulled over in Old Bowie on a seat belt violation, according to a release issued by the Bowie Police Department.
According to the release, Bowie police officers were patrolling Old Bowie when they noticed the driver of a white Nissan van operating his vehicle while not wearing a seat belt in the area of 7th Street and Chestnut Avenue.
Police conducted a routine traffic stop and noticed a "strong odor of unburned marijuana" coming from the van, police said. The three men in the van were ordered to leave the vehicle and police conducted a search.
The driver of the van, 22-year-old Melvin Avon Thomas Jr. of Bowie, was found with 3.2 grams of suspected crack cocaine and 1.5 grams of suspected marijuana on his person, police said. The suspected drugs have a street value of $640 and $30, respectively.
Larry Nathaniel Blake Jr., 22, also of Bowie, was the front passenger in the van and police found 1 gram of suspected marijuana on his person with an estimated street value of $20.
Police also recovered 0.2 grams of marijuana from the front driver's seat. During their search of the vehicle, officers also found 21 empty zip-close baggies, a digital scale and a tobacco grinder, items that police say are commonly used in the packaging and distribution of drugs.
No drugs were found on the third passenger, 38-year-old Eric David Stickland of Calvert County, but police did find an open warrant in his name for failure to appear.
All three men were taken into custody and driven to the corrections facility in Upper Marlboro for processing. Thomas was charged with possession with intent to distribute, Blake was charged with possession and Strickland was served with his open warrant, police said.