A routine traffic stop turned into a surprise drug bust for Bremerton Police Sunday, Feb. 9.
According to court documents, around noon on Feb. 9, a Bremerton officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a 2000 Toyota Camry at the intersection of Burwell Street and N. Montgomery Avenue, pulling the driver over for failure to yield to oncoming traffic.
The driver, later identified as 32-year-old Andrew K. Sauer, eventually pulled over at the 100 block of Olympic Avenue at which point he allegedly exited the vehicle and fled the scene on foot, running through multiple yards and other private properties. The officer gave chase and was eventually able to apprehend Sauer on Bloomington Avenue.
During the arrest, the Bremerton officer allegedly found a clear plastic bag underneath Sauer, containing a brown tar-like substance, a test determined the substance to be heroin.
According to documents, when the officer gave chase to Sauer, other officers had made contact with two other occupants of the vehicle. In the passenger seat was a man who identified himself as Joel Fortuna and in the backseat was the registered owner of the vehicle.
Due to Sauer being suspected of possession of heroin when he was taken into custody, a K-9 Unit was called out to inspect the vehicle. The K-9 unit alerted officers to the presence of illicit substances in the vehicle, and the owner gave consent to search the vehicle.
Two backpacks were located in the vehicle, of which all parties denied ownership, but also denied consent to search the bags, one of which had allegedly been in the front passenger seat between Fortuna’s legs. The K-9 Unit sniffed both bags and alerted officers to the bag Fortuna had allegedly been holding.
A search warrant was granted around 3:30 p.m. and a search of the backpack found a small scale, glass pipe and a rubber container hiding a brown tar-like substance, two baggies with a white crystallized substance and a glass container full of marijuana. It also held multiple letters and documents with Fortuna’s name on them. Lab tests showed that Fortuna had allegedly been carrying about 1.5 grams of heroin, and 3.7 grams of methamphetamine. All of these items were entered as evidence.
The officer indicated in his report that due to the location of the bag, and its contents, he had probable cause to arrest Fortuna for charges of drug possession and use of drug paraphernalia. Sauer’s bail was set at $75,000.