City man arrested on felony drug charge

A city man faces felony and misdemeanor drug charges after police allegedly found several ounces of marijuana in his backpack.

Just after 1 a.m. Sunday, patrolling Altoona police noticed a car parked in front of Smokers Express on the 2400 block of Union Avenue, and when the officers turned their vehicle around to investigate, the driver sped away.

Police said the car, a blue Ford Taurus, headed down Eighth Avenue at a high rate of speed before turning onto 29th Street and Beale Avenue, where traffic slowed the car.

Officers caught up to the car, and when the driver crossed a solid white line on Beale Avenue, police turned on their lights for a traffic stop.

In the passenger seat was 29-year-old Curtis Barnes, who police said had nearly 4 ounces of marijuana broken down into smaller bags in his backpack. Barnes, along with the two other passengers, all had outstanding warrants and were taken into custody.

Police said there were open cans of beer on the floor of the Ford, and when officers retrieved the suspects, they could smell marijuana. The backpack was on the floor where Barnes was sitting, and inside was a digital scale and a cookie container holding the marijuana. There was also a paper inside the backpack with Barnes’ name on it, police noted.

Police said the pot was packaged in six 15-gram bags and one 9-gram bag. The bags of marijuana were in a larger, opened vacuum-sealed bag with a small amount of pot in it as well. The total weight of the pot was just under 4 ounces, according to police.

Barnes allegedly told officers he smokes marijuana and that there was about 2 ounces in the bag.

Barnes was booked on a felony possession with intent to deliver charge along with misdemeanor counts of drug possession and paraphernalia possession. Barnes was released Sunday night on a unsecured $15,000 bond set by Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson. A preliminary hearing is slated for March 7 at Central Court before Magisterial District Judge Ben Jones.