by Lisa Tome
On Wednesday afternoon, April 22, shortly after 1 p.m., Rising Sun police officer George Vanaskey performed a traffic stop on a vehicle in the area of the Dollar General Store, Telegraph Road.
He stopped the vehicle for an equipment violation, one of the vehicle's brake lights wasn't working properly.
Vanaskey, who has been a town officer for 15 years, became suspicious.
"It was the way the occupants were acting. The rear passenger was moving stuff around. The driver was shaking when I approached them," said Vanaskey.
"And I saw prescription bottles in plain view in the glove box."
He decided to scan the car for possible drugs using one of the county's drug detecting K-9s. None were available.
A second Rising Sun police officer, PFC Dallas Herbert arrived at the scene to provide Vanaskey with back up. Herbert arrived from court. There were three people in the car.
"Once I got the driver out, he handed me paraphernalia (a pipe). Then I had probable cause to do the search (of the vehicle)," said Vanaskey.
In all, Vanaskey found four smoking pipes containing marijuana residue, trace amounts of marijuana, and numerous bottles of prescription pills all of which belong to the registered owner of the vehicle who was not one of the occupants. The officer also found multiple pills combined in one prescription bottle. That is illegal.
Charges are pending. This investigation is continuing.
Vanaskey said this traffic stop was nothing out of the ordinary. It's typical.
"It's widespread all over the county, pills and heroin. Officers are getting drug lock ups everyday," said Vanaskey. "We try to be proactive and get drugs off the street."
Vanaskey said that by far, heroin is the drug of choice.
"It's real prevalent in Cecil County," he said. He also said it costs about $65 for 13 bags of heroin - that is cheaper than pills.
"We arrest them and most people are abusing medications and drugs. I don't think the court system works. Drug court just delays the problem." he said.
The officer explained why he does it - what keeps him motivated. His wife wants him out of law enforcement.
"I have a daughter now. I am just trying to get as much off the street as I can, so she doesn't have to deal with it. I do the job I do because of her," he said. "For the amounts we get, it's frustrating. Because of the amount of paperwork we have to do."
He also said he hopes his encounters and arrests have a payoff.
"I am trying to get them clean. We hope this is an eye-opening experience for them that they (drug users) need to stop.
Vanaskey is aware that drugs are widely discussed in county and local government meetings.
"No one ever talks to the officers about the problem. We go out on the street and we know there is a drug problem here," he said. "There's people going to work everyday on pills or heroin. You just don't know it yet because they haven't been caught with it," he said.