Are Dodge Darts Illegal in Ohio? Man Arrested For Hidden Compartment That Revealed No Drugs

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
are dodge darts illegal in ohio man arrested for hidden compartment that revealed no

WKYC-TV reports that when Norman Gurley was pulled over for allegedly speeding in Lorain County, Ohio on Tuesday, State Highway Patrol officers arrested him for having a hidden compartment on his car, charged with a felony despite the fact that he was not violating drug, weapon or any other contraband laws. Gurley thus became the first person charged under Ohio’s relatively new “hidden compartment” law intended, supposedly, to stop drug smuggling. The law states: “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.” That may create a problem if you drive a Dodge Dart in Ohio.

Specifically, Gurley was was charged with violation of Sec. 2923.241, which states:

To enact section 2923.241 of the Revised Code to prohibit designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

Troopers allege to have noticed an “overwhelming smell” of raw marijuana, a claim which gave them probable cause to search the car, which revealed not a trace of marijuana nor any other controlled substance. They did, however, find some electrical wiring and after tracing it they found it led to the release for a hidden compartment. “During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” says Lt. Michael Combs with State Highway Patrol. “We figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open,” says Combs. The compartment, though, was empty.

“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” said Combs, who contends that the compartment was large enough to carry several pounds of drugs and made allegations that Gurley was part of some kind of drug gang. “We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

Gurley, who is from Michigan, was arraigned was released after posting bond. The car is being held as evidence.

Chrysler has started offering some of their cars, like the Dodge Dart, with a nice feature. The front passenger seat cushion flips forward to reveal a hidden storage compartment suitable for small valuables like cellphones, cameras, jewelry or a wallet. Just make sure, though, when you’re driving in Ohio, that neither you nor any of your passengers have ever thought of using it to stash some illegal drugs or maybe even some legal medical marijuana. It won’t necessarily take an “overpowering smell” of raw marijuana to find yourself charged with a felony and your car in an impound lot, maybe just enough for a well-trained K-9 to pick up its handler’s cues to “alert”.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

Join the conversation
5 of 126 comments
  • Shelvis Shelvis on Dec 20, 2013

    I'd love to see the back of the author's car. I'm sure it's pasted with all kinds of informative and mind blowing bumper stickers.

    • See 2 previous
    • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Dec 20, 2013

      @Pch101 Fair enough. There is enough tinfoil for both sides of the aisle. I wish their was more substance in the article. Misleading headlines are unfortunate at best.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Dec 20, 2013

    This law might cover all of those colorectal exams that guy got for walking seductively past a cop with clenched butt cheeks......... being a hidden storage compartment and all....

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.