Police in Lorain County, Ohio, arrested a man Wednesday after they found a hidden compartment on his vehicle. When officers opened the compartment, they found no drugs or illegal substances – yet the man was still arrested charged with a felony.
Officers were able to make the arrest under the state’s new “hidden compartment” law, which is intended to deter criminals who modify their cars to store and transport drugs or weapons.
Police initially pulled over 30-year-old Norman Gurley for speeding, but then noticed “several wires running to the back of the car,” WKYC-TV reports. The wires led the cops to a hidden compartment.
Even though a search turned up no drugs, guns or other illegal items, police were authorized to arrest him because the new law makes simply driving a “trap” car a felony. It was reportedly the first arrest made under the new law in Northeast Ohio.
“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” Lt. Michael Combs, of the State Highway Patrol, said.
According to WKYC-TV, the “hide” on Gurley’s vehicle was accessed electronically, “meaning you needed to perform a series of events in the correct order, and the the false floor seats or taillights would then pop out, revealing the secret compartment.”
Though there are some critics of the law, Combs argues that it helps combat criminals involved in the illegal trade.
“We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” he said.
While it’s unclear if Gurley is involved in drug dealing, Combs said the “hide” in his car was big enough to carry several pounds of drugs.