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Friday, June 2, 2023

Man tries to hide meth during traffic stop in Walmart parking lot, deputies say

A 48-year-old man with a suspended driver’s license was arrested in Ocala after he allegedly tried to hide drugs and related paraphernalia during a traffic stop in a Walmart parking lot.

On Monday, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a pickup truck on E Silver Springs Boulevard that turned into the parking lot of the Walmart located at 4980 E Silver Springs Boulevard. A computer search of the vehicle’s tag revealed that its registered owner had a suspended driver’s license and an active warrant out of Putnam County, according to the arrest report.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop in the parking lot and made contact with the driver and sole occupant of the pickup truck, identified in the report as Rodney Eugene May.

Rodney Eugene May
Rodney Eugene May

In the MCSO report, the deputy noted that May was not the registered owner of the pickup truck. After he handed the deputy his driver’s license, May admitted that it was suspended, and he stated that he was in Marion County to “get it fixed.”

While the deputy was in the process of searching May’s criminal history, May exited the pickup truck and shut the door. The deputy ordered him to return to the vehicle, and May advised that the driver’s side door was locked. He briefly entered the passenger’s side of the vehicle, and he then stepped back outside and bent down, according to the MCSO report.

After ordering May to remain in the pickup truck, a witness walked over and handed the deputy a napkin with writing on it. The deputy noted in the report that the message on the napkin stated, “He put something in a bag underneath palm frond next to tree.”

The deputy observed a tree with a palm frond on the ground near the passenger’s side of the pickup truck. Underneath the palm frond, the deputy located a glass pipe that contained a white residue, which field-tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the MCSO report.

After being read his Miranda rights, May initially denied ownership of the glass pipe, but he eventually admitted that it belonged to him. The deputy noted in the report that May later “changed his story” and claimed that the pipe belonged to the registered owner of the pickup truck.

A Walmart employee approached the deputy and advised that May had been observed throwing a small bag underneath the vehicle that was parked directly in front of the pickup truck. The deputy looked underneath that vehicle, which was approximately three feet in front of the truck, and a small bag filled with a crystal-like substance was located under the back bumper, according to the MCSO report.

The crystal-like substance field-tested positive for methamphetamine. May stated that the substance did not belong to him.

The MCSO report stated that a search of May’s criminal history revealed that he was previously convicted on two occasions of driving with a suspended license, in Putnam and Marion counties, and he was also convicted of burglary of an unoccupied structure in Putnam County.

May was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $8,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and driving with a suspended license (third or subsequent violation), along with a misdemeanor charge for possession of drug paraphernalia.

A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 27, according to jail records.