Joshua Mercado

Joshua Mercado

Bern Township police confiscated more than 2 pounds of marijuana from a New York man after an alert officer stopped an SUV on Route 183 for having an expired inspection, investigators said Oct. 7.

Joshua A. Mercado, 28, of Brooklyn was arrested Oct. 5 on charges of possessing and intending to deliver a controlled substance. Following arraignment before District Judge Kim L. Bagenstose in Reading Central Court, he was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail to await a hearing.

According to police:

Officer Joshua O. Santos was monitoring traffic in the area of Reading Regional Airport about noon Tuesday when he noticed an SUV traveling southbound on Route on Bernville Road, which is Route 183, with an inspection sticker on the windshield that expired in April.

He stopped the vehicle and while speaking to the driver, Mercado, smelled fresh cannabis. When he asked the driver about the odor, Mercado said he had smoked marijuana a few hours earlier.

Santos noticed a small amount of pot on the passenger seat, and Mercado tried to hide the substance under other items when asked about it.

Santos removed Mercado from the vehicle and searched him. In the suspect’s pocket, the officer found 18 oxycodone pills in plastic wrap, along with $965.

Santos placed Mercado in his patrol vehicle while he searched the SUV.

Among the items confiscated were:

• More than 2.5 pounds of marijuana in multiple bags under the driver’s seat and on the rear seat.

• A large amount of packaging material including vacuum-sealable bags and plastic containers.

• A digital scale.

• A zipper bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

• Two cellphones, one of which was receiving drug-related texts.

• A ledger that appeared to keep track of drug sales.

Police said Mercado is a convicted felon with a history of drug-trafficking offenses.

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