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Felony charge for man accused of hiding drugs in his groin area

John Mangalonzo, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

Instead of a simple possession charge, a Burlington man will face a felony offense on allegations he hid pot in his groin area to mask its presence during a traffic stop.

Jerome Martin, who Des Moines County prosecutors charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, will face a jury March 6.

A pretrial conference will take place in his case the day before.

One afternoon in September 2011, Burlington police officer Brian Carper was on patrol and saw a vehicle driven by Mario Terrell Halliburton in the 600 block of Aetna Street.

Authorities said Carper knew Halliburton had a suspended drivers license. The vehicle the 27-year-old man was driving stopped in the same block before the officer activated his cruiser’s top lights.

When asked, Halliburton reportedly told Carper he did not have a drivers license and was just driving to a friend’s house.

While talking with the driver, Carper said he smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the car.

The passenger, Martin, was asked by other officers to step out of the vehicle, and noted Martin smelled of pot.

Martin, police said, kept on trying to reach into his waistline while Carper was patting him down.

When that search got to Martin’s groin area, officers noted feeling an object “that was inconsistent with human anatomy.”

Martin reportedly produced what was inside: one small and one big plastic bag containing marijuana. He also had $485.61 on his person.

Authorities said the marijuana seized from Martin weighed a total of 23.4 grams.

Halliburton was arrested for driving under suspension.

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