Man charged after dog finds drugs in car

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  A Hampton man nearly drove away from a traffic stop Thursday night with only a citation for failing to maintain his lane of travel, having an expired vehicle registration tag and driving without a license; but when a law enforcement officer asked for permission to search the man's vehicle, a narcotics dog discovered cocaine which had been hidden in the vehicle.
  Van Alvin Baker, 56, of 212 Swimming Pool Road, was arrested Thursday night by Carter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sarah Ryan and charged with possession of a Schedule II narcotic and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  According to report, Ryan was on routine patrol on Highway 19-E headed northbound in the Valley Forge community when she observed a Lincoln Town Car in front of her cross over the right side fog line. Then, Ryan noticed that the vehicle's registration tag was expired and the officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle.
  At that time, Ryan identified the driver of the Lincoln Town Car as Baker. When the officer asked Baker for his driver's license, he handed her a Tennessee Identification Only card.
  Ryan then issued the man citations for driving without a license, having an expired vehicle registration tag and failure to maintain lane of travel.
  After she issued the citations to Baker, according to reports, Ryan asked Baker for permission to search the vehicle, which he then granted. Ryan deployed her K-9 partner Sgt. Kabor to conduct a K-9 sniff of the vehicle.
  "K-9 Kabor gave a positive alert at the driver's door. During an interior search, he gave a positive alert under the driver's front seat," Ryan states in her report. "During a hand search, a white envelop was found under the driver's seat. The envelope contained a syringe and a small plastic zipped bag with an amount of white powder type substance."
  Ryan then used a Reagent 904 Field Test Kit which yielded a positive result for cocaine. The bag was then weighed and it contained approximately nine grams of cocaine.
  At that time, Ryan placed Baker into custody on the charges of possession of a Schedule II narcotic and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was then transported to the Carter County Jail.
  Baker is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Oct. 5.