A Dayton man was sentenced Thursday to a year-and-a-half in prison after a traffic stop earlier this year on US 35 in Fayette County.
Lark was indicted in February on charges of tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine, and illegal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Vercie L. Lark, 35, plead guilty to tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree, possession of drugs (cocaine), a felony of the fifth degree, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lark was stopped on US 35 by Trooper Barhorst of the Ohio State Highway Patrol for a registration violation on the car.
Lark was placed in the back of the patrol car while Barhorst spoke with other passengers in the car. When Barhorst returned to the patrol car, he noticed Lark had a baggie hanging out of his waist band and that Lark had feces on his hands. Barhorst said the baggie tested positive for heroin.
Lark filed a motion to suppress evidence in August but the suppression was overruled by Steven Beathard, Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Judge.
Trooper Barhorst described the scene during the suppression hearing.
“He was dizzy, extremely sweaty,” said Barhorst during the hearing. Lark admitted to Barhorst that he had concealed Suboxone strips inside of his rectum. Barhorst said he thought Lark was overdosing and took him to the emergency room for treatment.
Barhorst then reviewed the video that was taken from inside the patrol car.
At some point Barhorst said Lark can be seen on video pulling out a bag in the back of the patrol car.
“I saw him, while handcuffed, adjust and remove the contraband bag, from his rectum, and was able to put it in his hands and move his hands far enough around that he was able to put it in his mouth, chewed it up, and spit it out on the floor of the patrol car,” said Barhorst during the hearing.
Sgt. Coverstone of the Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted in the traffic stop and said the office was doing more patrol along US 35 between Dayton and Chillicothe after there was a rash of overdoses.
Lark will serve one year in prison on the tampering with evidence charge and a consecutive six-month sentence on the possession of cocaine charge. He was ordered to pay the costs on the prosecution charge for the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He received a one-year license suspension. Lark was credited with 145 days of local jail time.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Beathard said that the search was reasonable and the baggie was in plain view, overruling Lark’s motion to suppress evidence.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton
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