GATE CITY — For the second time in as many weeks, a Big Stone Gap man was arrested by Gate City police after a K9 officer allegedly discovered marijuana in the vehicle he was riding in during a routine traffic stop.
Christopher Michael Farmer, 29, Big Stone Gap was taken into custody Friday evening by the Gate City Police Department after being charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a class 5 Felony.
Authorities said Farmer was one of three people in car that was traveling through Gate City when the traffic stop occurred on U.S. Route 23 North around 10 p.m. Friday.
During the stop, police reportedly obtained permission to search the vehicle Farmer was riding in from its driver.
While conducting the search, Gate City Police Department K9 Officer Adam Templeton allegedly discovered a backpack in the backseat of the vehicle that contained what authorities identified as marijuana.
Authorities said a total of 11 ounces of marijuana was found in the backpack.
In addition to the marijuana, authorities also allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia and items that could be used to grow marijuana. Those items reportedly, included empty plastic bags, a pair of scales, marijuana seeds, plant growing starter trays, two bags of peat moss and two bags of fertilizer.
During the course of the stop, authorities said Farmer admitted that the drugs belonged to him and that he had purchased them in the parking lot of the Kingsport Town Center on Fort Henry Drive.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest.
Gate City Police Chief Kim Birchfield said Farmer is three-time convicted felon who is on probation for those drug distribution offenses.
Farmer is currently being held without bail in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield.
Authorities said Farmer’s case shares similarities with another marijuana-related arrest that occurred Jan. 26 following a traffic stop on U.S. 23N.
Michael Raboin, 28, of Big Stone Gap was arrested after a K9 officer allegedly found five ounces of marijuana in the vehicle he was riding in.
Like Farmer, Raboin allegedly told his arresting officer that he had bought the marijuana in the parking lot of a Kingsport business.
Gate City police said they believe the marijuana discovered in both arrests came from the same source based on the alleged statements of Farmer and Raboin, and reported similarities between the packaging of the alleged drugs.
Birchfield said the arrests mark the third time in less than a year Gate City police have discovered relatively large quantities of marijuana during a traffic stop.
As a result of those arrests, Birchfield said authorities have seized approximately two pounds of marijuana, $1,400 in cash believed to be from the proceeds of drug sales and one vehicle.