Liz Kellar

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October 10, 2012
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Three arrested on drug, weapon charges after traffic stop

A driver’s alleged erratic behavior behind the wheel ended up landing him in jail, along with his two passengers, on a variety of charges.

A Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy spotted a silver sedan on Highway 49 near the Elks Lodge at about 6 p.m. Saturday that was having trouble maintaining lanes, varying its speed and braking inappropriately, said Sheriff Keith Royal.

After stopping the sedan, the deputy allegedly noticed a “pungent odor of marijuana” coming from the car, Royal said.

The driver, Albert Ruggles Johnston, 48, was asked to exit the vehicle and the deputy allegedly saw that he had a pistol concealed under his leg.

A “hand-to-hand transaction” allegedly was observed between the two passengers, identified as Bobby Dale Leatherman, 31, and Sally Kaye Thomas, 33.

Leatherman allegedly refused to comply with directions and had to be forcibly handcuffed.

Deputies searched the vehicle and allegedly found a large brown paper bag containing 328 grams of marijuana in the front passenger side, as well as a backpack containing a large bong with suspected methamphetamine residue and a switchblade, all reportedly belonging to Leatherman.

A search of Leatherman uncovered a digital scale in his pants, Royal said.

Royal added that Thomas was hiding a pouch in her pants that contained about 6.35 grams of meth and several pipes, which allegedly were given to her to hide by Leatherman.

Johnston was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm and possessing a loaded firearm in public. He was booked and released on $17,000 bail.

Leatherman was booked into county jail on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and transportation of marijuana for sale. He was being held in lieu of $11,750 bail.

Thomas was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, booked and released on $11,000 bail.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call (530) 477-4229.

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The Union Updated Feb 19, 2013 05:31PM Published Oct 19, 2012 03:35AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.