Traffic stop leads to drug, gun charges

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Police said they spotted Joshua Fitzgerald, 21, using a cellphone while driving, but as officers prepared to stop him late Tuesday afternoon in Roosevelt, they smelled "a strong odor of burning marijuana" coming from the vehicle.

Fitzgerald, of 155 Harris Ave., Freeport, was pulled over at about 5 p.m. and arrested on drug and weapons charges, Nassau County police said.

Fitzgerald faces charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana and two vehicle and traffic law infractions: one, for operating a motor vehicle while using a cellphone; the other, for driving with a broken windshield.

Police said officers on routine patrol first spotted Fitzgerald driving a Ford Taurus on Babylon Turnpike near East Fulton Avenue.

During the ensuing traffic stop police said officers found a burning marijuana cigarette in the car ashtray -- and a clear plastic bag containing marijuana in the console.

Subsequent investigation found that Fitzgerald was carrying a bag of crack, police said.

Officers also said they found a loaded 9-mm handgun in the trunk of the car.

Fitzgerald faces arraignment Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

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