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ON THE LATEST FRONT LICENSE PLATE NEWS AND STORIES FROM THE FIELD





Around the country, front license plates help solve crimes and save lives through vehicle identification.

News stories are published about it. And personal accounts by law enforcement agents appear frequently in the media. We have prepared a collection of these stories for you to read, research, and share with your community.
FEATURED NEWS

License plate left at scene of accident in Fine leads to impaired driving charges for Harrisville man

Man was located by Troopers a short time later.


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Missing front license plate leads to marijuana bust

Man was pulled over due to missing a front plate and driving on the shoulder.


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Police: Man Plows through Lincoln Elementary Fence, Leaves License Plate at Scene

The man with a blood alcohol level four times the legal limit to drive crashed into a Lincoln Elementary School fence Saturday then drove away.


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Police: Trucker used fishing line to flip plate in toll scam

The man was accused of tampering with public records and theft of services.


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Bus passing a 'national epidemic'

Having a front plate would help catch people who fly by buses


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Editorial, 2/23: Two license plates are better

Removing the front plate could take away valuable tool for solving crimes.


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Broken license plate links DUI suspect with hit-and-run

Police found the victim’s front license plate attached to the suspected drunk driver's truck hitch


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Homemade License Plate Lands Woman in Jail

Arrest made after officer pulled woman over in New York for not having a front plate.


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Mitchell Brown commentary: Front license plate helps ensure public safety

Citizens and police officers utilize license plates to solve crimes.


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Brooklyn man arrested with machetes, fake license plates in Jersey City, cops say

The lack of a front license plate led to this man's arrest.


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Waterville Rite Aid robbery suspect found dead

A distinguishable front license plate helped to find this suspect.


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Ohio panel recommends keeping speed limits, two license platese

House-Senate panel recommends to continue requiring a front license plate.


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The Top Stories from 2015 (archives)



Ohio's a two plate state

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License plate expiration leads to warrant arrest, and other Trenton police briefs

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Sheriff wants state to maintain front and rear license plates on vehicles/b>

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License plate leads to suspected drunken driver

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Brooklyn man arrested with machetes, fake license plates in Jersey City, cops say.

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Lack of license plate leads to arrest of Springfield man, confiscation of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy.

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Car Without License Plate Strikes Cyclist On The Embarcadero

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Mitchell Brown commentary: Front license plate helps ensure public safety

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LICENSE PLATE LEFT BEHIND LEADS TO ARREST OF DRIVER IN BUS WRECK

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LICENSE PLATE LEFT BEHIND AS DRIVER SPED FROM SMASHED HOUSE

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Driver in Franklin BBQ hit-and-run leaves behind license plate

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License plate imprint solves hit and run case

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License plate left at scene leads police to Wheaton student who allegedly fled crash scene early Saturday

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Bumper-sized evidence left behind after hit-and-run

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Two charged with theft in Eden Prairie

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Nine dead in mass shooting at SC church
Update: Shooter identified as Dylann Roof
Update: CAPTURED

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Letter: Mandate two license plates to catch criminals

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License plate helps Des Plaines police find fatal hit-and-run suspect

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No front license plate leads to drug bust

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Man charged in hit-and-run had left license plate at crash

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Fatal Overnight Hit-and-Run Crash Closes Northbound I-35E in Carrollton

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Front plates valuable to law enforcement

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Sheriff: License plate on badly burned car partially match missing woman's car

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No license plate on pickup truck leads to cocaine, ecstasy bust in Jersey City, cops say

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Two women arrested for car theft, drugs

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Left-behind license plate leads to hit and run arrest in Wallingford

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License plate in front helps ID the driver

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Waterville Rite Aid robbery suspect found dead

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Sheriff speaks out on plate bill

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Brooklyn man arrested with machetes, fake license plates in Jersey City, cops say

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Man wrecks car in high speed chase with child in tow

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The Top Stories from 2014 (archives)



COHASSET POLICE: Audi grill with license plate left at hit and run crash scene

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Man flees crash scene, leaves license plate behind, Westfield police say

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Police: DUI driver hits cruiser, leaves license plate at scene

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License plate leads to child porn arrest

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The Top Stories from 2013 (archives)



License Plate Problem Leads to Arrest of Portland Man on Multiple Charges

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License plate led to man accused of killing Woodland pedestrian

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Suspicious license plate leads to big arrest in Andover

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Hit-and-run left an imprint of driver's license plate

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Missing Front Plate Lead Lodi Police to Suspected Car Thief

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Mismatched plates lead to world of trouble for man in Chatham Township

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CHP: Suspect in Fatal Hit and Run Tracked Down with License Plate Left at Scene

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31 pounds of marijuana seized during Tuesday traffic stop

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Response made issue clearer

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Driver stopped for license plate violations: North Royalton Police Blotter

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Missing License Plate Leads to Arrest (Illinois article)

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Driving without license plate leads to DUI arrest

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Hit and Run Leaves License Plate Behind

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Kraus renews effort to end front license plate

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The Top Stories from 2012 (archives)



Hit and Run Suspect Tracked Down By License Plate

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Hit-and-run driver left damage, license plate

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In a fit of road rage, driver runs over man and leaves license plate at the scene

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License plate, trail of debris lead to Clackamas drunk-driving suspect

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No Front License Plate Leads to Drug Possession Charge, More

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Hit & Run Crash Results In DWI Arrest

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Bumper, plate lead police to crash suspect's home

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ID of hit-and-run driver unknown, but license plate is a pretty good clue

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North Pole police: Hit-and-run driver left license plate behind

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High-tech license plate reader helps Perth Amboy police track cars

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Plate clue to driver who fled fatal hit and runs

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Hear a cop's pleas about license plates and driver's licenses

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Police: Missing Front Plate, Beltless Driver Leads to Drug Arrest

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Hit-and-Run Suspect Leaves License Plate at Scene of Crash

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License Plate Left At Scene Of Fatal Hit-And-Run On Cape Leads To Arrest

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Man charged with DWI; car's bumper was left at scene

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Bayonne driver leaves behind bumper with license plate after car crash

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Hit-and-Run Driver Busted After Leaving License Plate at Scene

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Why does Iowa require two license plates?

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Car fluids, lost license plate help solve crimes

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Missing license plate results in drunk driving charge: North Royalton Police Blotter

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Police Notes: Hit and run vehicle left license plate behind

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Police stop for missing license plate upheld, drug charge sticks

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Cops: License plate on road leads to hit-run driver (partial story)

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No Front Plate Leads to Drug/Weapons Bust on Hutch in New Rochelle

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License plate leads to suspect, Houston-area death

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Mount Olive cops say drunken driver left license plate at scene of crash

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License plate left at crash scene key to arrest

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License Plates: Crime Solving Tools


Every year, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) collects stories from the field about the difference license plates make to public safety. Selected officers receive awards for their contributions to successful law enforcement through using license plates to solve or prevent crime.



The Top Stories from 2015



2014 Looking Beyond the License Plate Program Winning Stories



Trooper Blair Paulsen – Iowa State Patrol


Trooper Paulsen noticed that the rear license plate was tinted and the side windows were also tinted on a white Chevrolet cargo van and initiated a traffic stop on September 13, 2014. Two males and one young female were sitting on the front seat, none of which were licensed to operate motor vehicles. There was a dark blanket spread in the back of the van and a foot was sticking out. The blanket appeared to be covering several people so Trooper Paulsen called for backup.


Further investigation revealed twelve additional subjects in the back, including a young boy. None of the occupants spoke English so an interpreter was contacted by phone and it was determined that the boy was six years old. Additional discussion led to the real name of the young boy, who was told to change his name upon entering the van.


FBI Human Trafficking Task Force became involved and it was determined that two of the occupants were seventeen years old and one was six years old. The juveniles were all taken to children's housing for care. The adults were all transported to a county jail.


The six year old boy was not related to anyone in the vehicle and thought he was being taken to his mother in Las Vegas. Later, a call was received from a male subject in New Jersey claiming he was a neighbors of the child's grandmother and was trying to gain access to the boy. There was a strong feeling from all officers that the boy was destined for a life in the child labor or sex industry. It is unclear what this pair actually had in store for the boy, but it clearly was not what had been promised to him.


Federal charges were filed by the FBI against the two initial male subjects for human trafficking violations. Both pled guilty within weeks due to the solid case. There were so many officers from so many departments involved, each performing outstanding work. But it all started with Trooper Blair Paulsen making a traffic stop for an obstructed license plate violation and taking the time to look well beyond the original stop.



Honorable Mentions



Detective Jamie Pietras – Anaheim Police Department, California


Two rival documented criminal street gangs in the City of Anaheim were committing shootings and assaults against each other beginning in early 2014. On Feb. 20, 2014 a "Penguins City" gang member shot an "Anaheim Traveler City" gang member in the Traveler's neighborhood. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries, and the suspect was taken into custody soon after the shooting. On June 6, 2014, members of the Anaheim Travelers City gang committed a drive-by shooting in the Penguin City neighborhood. No one was hit, and a victim was never identified, but a Penguins City gang member chased after the suspect vehicle. He ultimately crashed his car into a curb during the chase and was arrested on traffic related charges.


The number of gang-related patrol calls was increasing along with increased gang-related graffiti in both neighborhoods. It was clear the tension between these two gangs was building, and the retaliatory violence would continue. On June 17, 2014 Gang Investigator Jamie Pietras received information from a confidential informant that Penguin City was planning a drive by shooting in the next few days. The informant said there were at least three possible suspects, and he described a possible suspect vehicle, a white Honda Accord and gave three characters of the license plate. This vehicle did not match any known vehicles associated with the Penguin City gang.


Investigator Pietras asked Detective Dave Watson, who is known for his expertise in and the use of our Automated License Plate Reader database, to assist in identifying this possible suspect vehicle. Searching the ALPR database for similar vehicles with the three characters, Detective Watson found a white Honda Accord with a complete license plate that included the same three characters. The vehicle plate had been captured by an ALPR reader in another neighborhood. Using the full license plate, Detective Watson ran it through DMV database and discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen on June 14, 2014.


Armed with this particular information, gang investigators converged on the Penguin City neighborhood in search of the stolen vehicle. Within a short time, investigators located the stolen vehicle unoccupied in a carport of an apartment complex. The gang investigators began surveillance on the vehicle. An hour later, three male Hispanics walked toward the stolen vehicle. Investigators recognized all three of the subjects who are documented Penguin City gang members on either parole or probation. One of the subjects was carrying a backpack. All three subjects entered the stolen vehicle and began to back up out of the carport. The gang investigators converged on the stolen vehicle and were able to stop and detain all three occupants.


Each of the occupants were either on parole or probation with search and seizure terms. They were all arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, along with several gang enhancement allegations. During a search of the car, investigators found an unloaded Ruger P85 9mm handgun and two loaded 9mm magazines in a backpack on the front passenger floorboard. They also found a folding knife and a long thin standard screwdriver on the front passenger floorboard. Although the front passenger of the vehicle was technically in possession of the gun and ammunition, gang culture dictates all of the gang members are aware of the gun's presence and would work together to conceal the gun and ammo from law enforcement.


While the three males admitted to this known gang culture, they did not admit to possessing the gun and ammunition. The driver of the vehicle did admit to stealing the car. All three suspects were charged.


In November 2014, the criminal case against all three suspects was adjudicated. The driver of the car pled guilty to the charges and was released on gang probation terms with time served. However, on January 19, 2015, he was arrested for violating his probation and sentenced to 16 months in state prison. The front passenger who was in possession of the gun and ammunition pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced to six years and four months in state prison. The third suspect pleaded guilty to all counts and was sentenced to six years and four months in state prison.


The arrest and prosecution of these three documented gang members, along with other enforcement efforts all but shut down the Anaheim Penguin City street gang. Since this incident, the rate of gang related crimes has dramatically dropped in both neighborhoods. The number of gang-related calls for service has declined along with the frequency of gang-related graffiti.


This has a positive impact on the residents and businesses especially in the Anaheim Penguin City neighborhood. There is little doubt, given the increasingly violent interaction between these two gangs, this investigation prevented another gang related drive by shooting and quite possibly saved a life or two.



Officer Shelby Mann - Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado


The parking lots of hotel/motel are frequently used as a location where stolen vehicles may blend in while thieves engage in other illegal activities. At about 1659 hours, Officer Shelby Mann was checking vehicles and license plates in a motel parking lot when he came upon a green Honda Accord; Honda automobiles are known to be the frequent target of auto thieves and officers are aware of their use by suspects to further an illegal scheme.


Officer Mann queried the license plate which returned no information about the vehicle. He exited his police vehicle and began to look for external clues about the identity of the vehicle's owner. Conducting a computer query on the vehicle's identification number (VIN) Officer Mann discovered that the green Honda Accord had been reported stolen to the CSPD more than a month earlier and the license plate were unrelated to the vehicle.


During his preliminary investigation, Officer Mann could hear voices coming from a white Honda Prelude parked nearby. Officer Mann turned towards the sound and saw people moving inside as if to avoid detection. When Officer Mann contacted the two people inside the white Honda Prelude they were evasive as to their actions and why they were present in the parking lot. The pair did point to a nearby motel room where they said the person who drove the Green Honda Accord was present and also producing fraudulent checks.


Officers began a systematic investigation into the identification of the suspect related to the stolen automobile. Initiating contact at the door to the motel room resulted in officers seeing items associated with identity theft scattered about the interior of the room. Four people were found inside the room, one of whom confessed to driving the stolen automobile.


Further interviews and interrogation resulted in the confessions by the suspects to crimes related to the stolen automobile as well as narcotics trafficking, burglary, theft and identity theft. The preliminary investigation unmasked a group of individuals who were reading obituaries and targeting the homes of recently deceased people in the Colorado Springs, Manitou and Pueblo, Colorado region. The suspects were stealing property, vehicles, mail, and the identities of the deceased as well as others in the state.


Two unreported burglaries were discovered and more than twenty victims of identity theft were recognized. The green Honda Accord, two handguns, crystal methamphetamine, seven thousand dollars in cash, and a trove of items related to the property and identity theft crimes that had been committed by the suspects. The four suspects found in the room were charged with crimes related to the burglaries, thefts, auto theft, and weapon by a previous offender, narcotics violations and identity thefts in El Paso and Pueblo counties. Weapon charges were also referred to a federal prosecutor for review.



Officer Brad Miglio - Orlando Police Department, Florida


On July 16, 2014 at 1600 hours, Officer B. Miglio along with Officer P. Fugate were on proactive patrol in the area of North Ln and N. Pine Hills Rd. Officer Miglio observed a white Audi travelling westbound on North Ln. The vehicle approached the intersection of North Ln and Pine Hills Rd and failed to make a complete stop at the red light while turning northbound.


The vehicle also had improper display of the registration decal; the decal was in the lower left corner of the license plate. Officer Miglio activated the emergency lights and sirens and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.


Upon making contact with the vehicle's occupant's probable cause was established. Four rifles, seven handguns, two Tec 9 pistols, and one Coast Guard 37mm grenade launcher were recovered. Three of the firearms were reported stolen. All weapons were linked to the passenger of the vehicle who was a convicted felon.

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Stolen Vehicle Investigation Leads to FBI Homicide Investigation



Officer Pilkington was driving a fully marked Chandler Police Vehicle with license plate reader equipment through a public housing complex when he received a hit on a stolen white Dodge Intrepid. The vehicle was unoccupied upon discovery. The vehicle was unoccupied at the time Officer Pilkington found it, so Detective Wiseman was called to conduct surveillance undercover. No one came to the vehicle, so it was recovered.


Further investigation revealed that the apartment complex parking lot had a video surveillance, which exposed the identity of the male getting out of the stolen vehicle. Officer Pilkington was able to identify the male subject, receive the suspect's information, and conducted surveillance on the location. The man was located and arrested for possession of the vehicle. A search warrant was conducted in his apartment where the vehicle's key fob was located. The male was eventually booked for possession of the stolen vehicle.


While the stolen vehicle was being investigated, Officer Pilkington was contacted by a detective and the FBI that the male arrested was a suspect in a homicide. Not only was the male the subject, but the stolen vehicle is believed to be involved when committing the homicide. The investigation is still ongoing.


Expired Registration Results in Arrest of Drug Dealer by US Marshalls



Trooper Eric Randazzo of the Pennsylvania State Police was travelling on a local road in Swiftwater, Pa., when he observed a motorcycle merge onto the road not far from him. He routinely ran the rear license plate, which revealed that the motorcycle's registration had been expired for more than five years. Randazzo signaled for the rider to pull over, but observed the operator throw a clear plastic bag on the road before stopping. It was not only discovered that the rider had a suspended license, but when Trooper Randazzo retrieved the plastic bag thrown from the motorcycle, it was filled with methamphetamine. The rider was arrested, and later provided the address where the drugs were purchased.


Trooper Randazzo began to conduct surveillance on the residence where the drugs came from, which resulted in two additional traffic stops, three arrests, and the name of the drug dealer. A search warrant for the home was obtained, resulting in the seizure of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, narcotics weighing and packaging materials, and a safe containing $26,000. The dealer was later arrested by U.S. Marshalls because he was on active federal probation for a previous Drug Enforcement Agency arrest in the 1990s.


The dedication, tenacity and self‐initiative shown by Trooper Randazzo helped to take a significant amount of drugs and money off the streets in Monroe County, Pa., making the community a safer place to live.

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