Traffic stop leads to two men being arrested

Published: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 5:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 5:50 p.m.

A Gainesville man was arrested early Saturday morning after police say a traffic stop resulted in the discovery that the vehicle apparently had been stolen from the driver's employer. Meantime, a passenger was arrested after police say he attempted to discard illegal drugs.

Ronald D. Phipps, 43, of 1109 NW 41st Ave., and Algerinan Flagg, 53, of 2405 NE 57th Blvd., were traveling together down East University Avenue in a car when they were pulled over because the vehicle did not have a license plate, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.

According to the report, the arresting officer noticed the smell of burnt marijuana while idling next to the vehicle at a stop light before pulling the vehicle over.

After being pulled over, Phipps, who was driving the vehicle, told police that he had taken the car from his employer, Broadway Upholstery, so that he could go to a bar and that the business owner wasn't aware, the report said.

When police checked Phipps' drivers' license, they discovered it had been suspended and that Phipps was listed as a habitual offender who has had his license suspended multiple times since 1999 for driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. He had served jail time in 2008 for habitually driving without a license, the report said.

Police say that two bags containing small amounts of marijuana and a pill containing MDMA, which is the pure form of the drug Ecstasy, were found behind the car on the passenger's side, the report said.

The passenger-side window was the only window that was rolled down when the car was pulled over and the bags were dry, which police say is suspect, as it had rained earlier and the ground was still wet.

Flagg, who was seated in the passenger seat, has numerous prior convictions for drug possession, according to the report.

Phipps was charged with one felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle and one felony count of driving with a suspended license as an habitual offender. He was taken to the Alachua County jail, where as of Saturday evening he remained on a $10,000 bond.

Meanwhile, Flagg was charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence, one felony count of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession. He, too, was taken to the Alachua County jail, where he was released Saturday afternoon on a $20,000 bond.

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