A Hailey resident faces a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia following an arrest by a Hailey Police officer on Oct. 3.
Saul Servin-Tellez, 18, was allegedly pulled over by Officer Charles Cox for talking on his cell phone, Cox testified during a preliminary hearing on Nov. 7.
He said that upon making contact with Servin-Tellez, he smelled the distinct odor of burnt marijuana coming from the van Servin-Tellez was driving. When Cox allegedly told Servin-Tellez why he had pulled him over—for talking on his cell phone—Servin-Tellez allegedly told him that he was not talking but was listening to music on the cellphone, which was on his lap.
Cox called for backup and told Servin-Tellez and his passenger to exit the van, so he could do a search due to the odor of marijuana. During the search, an ounce of marijuana was found along with $6,344 in cash, according to a civil case connected to the arrest. In addition, a glass bong used to smoke marijuana was also allegedly found in the van, according to Cox’s testimony.
Servin-Tellez was arrested for intent to sell marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. During the preliminary hearing, Servin-Tellez’s defense attorney, Doug Nelson, verified with Cox that the only reason he pulled over his client was because he thought he had seen him talking on his cell phone, an act that is illegal in Hailey based on a city ordinance. Cox answered that yes, Servin-Tellez was only pulled over based on that observation.
Nelson told the court that he is currently fighting a case that is in the process of going to the Idaho Supreme Court regarding the city’s cell phone ordinance. In that case, a woman was pulled over for talking on her cell phone and was subsequently charged with driving without privileges. A 5th District magistrate judge ruled that the city’s ordinance was overreaching and conflicts with state law, but an appeals court reversed that ruling. Nelson is contesting the appeals court decision.
At an arraignment in District Court on Monday, Servin-Tellez pleaded not guilty to the felony charge. He is now scheduled for a pretrial conference in March and a potential jury trial set to begin March 18.