Suspected Drug Dealer in Custody after K9 Alert During Traffic Stop

K9 Ladybird with her partner, Deputy Forbus

K9 Ladybird doesn’t need #takeyourdogtoworkday for an excuse to accompany her Deputy to work, she’s a full-time employee! Don’t let her sweet name fool you – she’s serious about finding drugs when working her beat.

On Wednesday, K9 Ladybird’s partner, Deputy Forbus, stopped a vehicle for several traffic violations in Port Charlotte. Deputy Forbus observed suspicious interaction between the driver, later identified as Justin Atwood (4/1/88), and a passenger he picked up while Deputy Forbus was observing his vehicle. The passenger was later identified as Joseph Obrien (9/10/81).

The driver, Justin Atwood, provided a Florida Identification Card and advised he did not possess a driver’s license. He further denied ownership of anything inside the vehicle and refused consent to search it. K9 Ladybird then conducted a free air sniff around the vehicle, alerting to the presence of narcotics. K9 Ladybird is certified through the United States Police Canine Association to detect the odors of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, mdma, and cocaine.

Justin Atwood

During a search of the vehicle, a black packpack was located on the passenger side floorboard, bearing the name “Peenutt” – Joseph Obrien’s nickname. Inside the backpack, multiple baggie were located containing a white crystal substance which tested positive for methamphetamine. Used syringes were also located on the floorboard.

Justin Atwood was charged with Driving on a Suspended License (2nd Offense), Possession of a Controlled Substance (methamphetamine), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Joseph Obrien

Joseph Obrien was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Sell and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The total amount of Methamphetamine found in Joseph’s book bag weighed out to be approximately 9.68 grams.

K9 Ladybird encourages anyone with information on drug activity in our county to report it to us. If you have an addiction and need help, click here to read more about the Sheriff’s Recovery Program. A safer community is a team effort between law enforcement and residents.

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