'Hands Free' Violation Leads to Large Drug Seizure | NECN
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'Hands Free' Violation Leads to Large Drug Seizure

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Monday, July 27, 2015)

    The new hands free law in New Hampshire has led to a significant drug bust in the City of Manchester, New Hampshire.

    It's the second time a cell phone violation has resulted in getting drugs off the streets.

    Manchester Police found more than 60 grams of heroin, prescription pills, a handgun, and a loaded magazine during a traffic stop Sunday night.

    Police Chief Nick Willard says the suspect was pulled over for allegedly talking on his cell phone while driving.

    Alejandro "Alex" Guillermo, 39, was pulled over in the area of Auburn and Union Streets.

    When Officer Ryan Boyton approached Guillermo, he also noticed a black handgun secured in a shoulder holster. A loaded magazine with seven rounds, a "butterfly" knife and a pill container was also found on Guillermo.

    The container revealed several Clonazepam, Tramadol and Diclonfenac pills. The first two drugs require a prescription, which Guillermo didn't have, so he was placed into custody.
    A search also revealed 43.3 grams of heroin in a bank bag and a fake Diet Coke can. Another 18.2 grams of heroin and 6.2 grams of cocaine were found inside a gray satchel.

    "Just from a basic hands free stop, someone talking on their cell phone, the officer saw past that," Chief Willard said. "It actually turned into a significant arrest."

    It's the second drug bust since the hands free law went into effect at the beginning of the month.

    Police found heroin, pills, and syringes on two women last week after the driver was stopped for using her phone.

    "I think it's a very important law and it creates a safer environment," Chief Willard said Monday.

    New Hampshire State Police have handed out about 330 hands free violations since July first. Lt. Matt Shapiro says that's fewer than expected, thanks in large part to the full year of public education on the law before it went into effect.

    "The driving public has been overwhelmingly compliant with this law," Lt. Shapiro said. "It's been actually difficult to find drivers using handheld devices."

    But Manchester residents are concerned the law isn't having the widespread impact police say it is.

    "I seen someone on a motorcycle the other day texting," said driver Pam Bouchard.
    Kim Bartlett of Epping agreed, saying, "They are sitting there texting, almost hitting me, and other motorists."

    As a truck driver, Timothy Wilds has a good sense of what's happening on the roadways.

    "I can look inside your vehicle and see everything you're doing and everyone is playing with telephone," Wilds said.

    He says the new law is starting to change that.

    "I don't think it's 100 percent, but it's working," Wilds said.

    Wilds agrees with police, the law will take some time to change people's lifelong habits.

    "After a year or two, you will have people who wonder why I didn't do this earlier," Lt. Shapiro said.

    A reminder for drivers from police Monday - they say this isn't just about texting and driving, under this new law, it's illegal to use your phone for anything, GPS and email included, even while stopped at a light or in traffic.

    Fines start at $100 and go up to $500 for repeat offenders.
     

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