JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus no longer faces criminal marijuana possession charges stemming from a traffic stop last month in Atlantic Beach.
Prosecutors on Monday dropped misdemeanor charges of possession of under 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in the case, according to Duval County court records.
The decision to close the case comes after Dareus’ attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the grounds that his client was not carrying the marijuana when he was stopped and denied having any knowledge of it.
News4Jax has requested a copy of the disposition report from the State Attorney’s Office.
Dareus, 29, was pulled over for speeding on Atlantic Boulevard about 2 a.m. Oct. 2 after an officer noticed his sport-utility vehicle going about 50 mph in a 35-mph zone, according to an incident report.
The officer noted an odor of marijuana coming from the SUV. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, two marijuana joints were found in the center console and a marijuana grinder was found nearby. No one inside the SUV claimed the marijuana and paraphernalia.
Dareus was released after he was given a notice to appear in court and a verbal warning for speeding.
In his motion to dismiss, defense attorney Mitch Stone cited past case law in which a bag of cocaine with a defendant’s fingerprint was found under his seat. In that case, the court found the state did not prove the man knew the drugs were in the car, much less that he had control of it, so his conviction was overturned.
Stone told News4Jax on Thursday that the state made the right call not to pursue the case against his client.
“They couldn’t prove he was in actual possession because it wasn’t on him, it was in the car,” Stone said. “They couldn’t prove constructive possession because he denied knowledge of it, and there were other people in the vehicle it could have belonged to.”