Traffic stop turns into drug arrests

BRIDGEPORT — What began as a traffic stop for a suspended license turned into a pair of arrests for drug possession early Monday in Bridgeport.

Officer Michael Duplaga of the Bridgeport Police Department said he initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle near the intersection of South Lincoln Avenue and Howard Street, knowing that the driver of the vehicle, Robert Kramerage, had a suspended license. According to Duplaga, the vehicle turned right, then left, continuing down Howard Street before coming to a stop. After the driver took such a long time to pull over, despite passing several safe spots to stop, Duplaga requested assistance that came in the form of two more officers, a Belmont County sheriff’s deputy and a K-9.

During the stop, an officer pulled the passenger, Percy Sinclair, out of the vehicle, stating he saw marijuana on Sinclair; officers reportedly discovered a rock of crack cocaine in addition to the marijuana and placed Sinclair under arrest. The officers then reportedly discovered more crack rapped up in a dollar bill on Kramerage’s person; he was also arrested.

Officers transported Sinclair to the Belmont County Jail while Duplaga issued a citation to Kramerage and waited for a tow truck to come and take away his vehicle. Duplaga was contacted by his fellow officers while waiting and was advised that two large bags of crack had been found in Sinclair’s socks. When Duplaga arrived at the jail, he weighed the bags and found them to total 24 grams; Duplaga said that amount of drugs would be worth roughly $3,000. Sinclair also reportedly had $1,255 in his pocket near where the crack was initially found. As of Monday morning, Duplaga said Sinclair had bonded out of the jail.

Duplaga said the stop, which started out ordinarily, goes to show officers need to keep an eye out all the time for anything unusual.

“I knew the male (Kramerage’s driver’s license) was suspended, and it just unfolded from there,” Duplaga said.

Bridgeport Police Chief Andrew Klotz said he was proud of the effort Duplaga and the other officers put in on the case, encouraging them to keep it up in the future.

“I commend Officer Duplaga for all his hard work,” Klotz said.