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Granada man faces felony

FAIRMONT — A Granada man is facing a felony charge in Martin County.

Brandon Lee Loeschen, 39, has been charged with drug possession in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to the complaint:

At 9:34 p.m. Aug. 14, a Fairmont police officer was on patrol when he observed a vehicle at the intersection of Ninth Street and North North Avenue. The vehicle had an inoperable front headlight, and the officer initiated a traffic stop.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer spoke with the driver, later identified as Loeschen. Loeschen said he knew the headlight was out and that he had recently purchased the vehicle from a body shop in Mapleton.

The officer observed a young child inside the vehicle, later identified as an 8-year-old relative of Loeschen.

During the stop, the officer observed that Loeschen’s hands were shaking, and the officer could smell the heavy odor of an air freshener. The officer was aware that individuals who use narcotics often use masking agents such as air fresheners.

The officer stepped closer and could smell the faint odor of marijuana in the vehicle. He also observed a plastic baggie in the driver’s door handle that appeared to contain a rock-like substance inside. The officer believed the substance to be meth, and returned to his squad car to run Loeschen’s driver’s license through the system.

Upon returning, the officer noticed that the plastic baggie was no longer present. When asked what happened, Loeschen said he did not know. As the officer continued to ask about the baggie and the odor, Loeschen’s hands became visibly more shaky and he continued to deny knowing about the baggie.

When asked if the officer could search the vehicle, Loeschen denied consent. Loeschen was asked to step out of the vehicle, and the officer observed Loeschen bring his left hand to the rear side of his waist and appear to tuck something in.

Loeschen’s vehicle was searched and officers did not locate anything inside the vehicle. Loeschen denied having anything on him, but when he lifted his shirt the officer observed a plastic baggie sticking out from his waistband. The officer removed the baggie, and Loeschen confirmed the substance to be meth.

Loeschen was placed under arrest and transported to the Martin County jail.

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