Seat Belt Traffic Stop During ‘Click It or Ticket’ Campaign Led to Drug Bust

The final days of a seat belt enforcement campaign has led to, of all things, a drug bust in New Jersey.

The nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign has just wrapped up. According to Door County Daily News, the annual campaign lasts from the last two weeks of May, through Memorial Day weekend, and then ends during the first week of June.

The campaign calls for law enforcement agencies across the country to step up their patrol for drivers who are not wearing seat belts and give more tickets to violators.

In New Jersey, according to Asbury Park Press, a Click It or Ticket detail during the final days of the campaign led to a big drug bust.

Officer Zach Rhein pulled over two 20-year-olds driving a 2013 Chrysler 300. The reason for the pullover: they were not wearing their seat belts. The driver, Dante Dalessandro, and passenger, Jesse Puleo, had a little more to worry about than just a seat belt ticket.

Dalessandro and Puleo, being 20-year-old males, fell right into the demographic for least likely to wear their seat belts. According to the Center for Disease Control, drivers who are 18- to 34-year-old males are the most likely to not wear sear belts.

Officer Rhein quickly realized that this was not just an ordinary Click It or Ticket stop and that drugs may be involved.

“Further investigation revealed that Dalessandro had over a pound of ray marijuana within the vehicle and was unlawfully in possession of an expandable baton,” said Timothy Torchia, a Detective Lt. and spokesman for the police department. “Puleo was also found to be in possession of marijuana less than 50 grams.”

Dalessandro was charged with marijuana possession with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute in a school zone, unlawful weapon possession, paraphernalia possession, and possession over 50 grams.

Puleo is facing a charge of marijuana possession under 50 grams and neglecting to wear his seat belt.

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