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While on routine patrol along the coast of Carlsbad at around 4:30 p.m. on May 14, two state Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) game wardens came up behind a silver Lexus on Carlsbad Boulevard.

While normally game wardens do not pull over drivers for vehicle-code violations, the man was driving 15 to 20 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. They also noticed he was holding his cell phone with one hand and a cigarette with the other.

Stopped at “Turnarounds” – a popular surf spot off Carlsbad Boulevard at Palomar Airport Road — the officers, approaching the vehicle, noticed the smell of marijuana and a lighter in the driver's lap. The driver voluntarily exited the vehicle and consented to a search.

He was arrested when officers found several half-smoked joints, a small baggie of marijuana, pipes, roach clips, and rolling papers. A 9mm gun clip, loaded with 12 rounds, was found in the glove compartment. A 9mm handgun was later found in the truck along with a large, double-edged hunting knife. The man didn’t have a medical marijuana card or a permit for the gun.

Officers on the scene, assisted by a State Parks ranger, would not give any details about the incident, but DFW public information officer Mark Michilizzi stated the driver’s initial violations of three vehicle codes — impeding the flow of traffic, talking on a cell phone, and not in full control of the vehicle (no hands on the wheel) — is what first caused the officers to take notice.

“As law-enforcement officers, they were required to take action,” said Michilizzi. Although Carlsbad police weren’t notified of the incident and were not asked for assistance, further investigation by DFW showed the man had a criminal record for similar arrests, as well as violation of a penal code that involved improper actions around children or a school.

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