MARIETTA - A South Carolina couple was arrested Monday on drug charges by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Washington County following a traffic stop.
The OSHP reported Tuesday that Christopher A. Burton, 25, the driver, and passenger Heather N. Ellason, 21, both of Greenville, S.C., were arrested on drug charges and were being held in the Washington County Jail.
According to a highway patrol press release, troopers stopped a 2002 Honda Accord with South Carolina registration for a speed violation on Interstate 77, near milepost 16, at 11:40 p.m. Monday. The troopers allegedly detected the odor of burnt marijuana and with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff's Office conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle.
The search allegedly revealed 105 oxycodene pills, five grams of methamphetamine, three grams of marijuana, nine drug paraphernalia items and numerous drug trafficking items, the press release said.
Burton and Ellason were both charged with drug trafficking and possession of oxycodene, both third-degree felonies, possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony, and a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. If convicted, they face up to 11 years in prison and up to a $22,500 fine.
The OSHP reported that drug violations are up significantly this year. Through Dec. 17, the patrol has made 1,432 more arrests than during the same time period in 2011.