A St. Johnsbury man accused of driving around town with a backpack of illegal drugs in his car has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that will benefit St. Johnsbury's police dog program.
Hummingbird Takahashi, 42, pleaded no contest to a charge of possessing cocaine in exchange for a $200 fine and an order that he forfeit a handgun seized during his arrest. A second charge of possession of marijuana was dismissed by the state as part of the plea deal.
According to the terms of the plea agreement reached on May 13, Takahashi agrees to forfeit a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber handgun seized during his arrest by the St. Johnsbury Police Department in order to "augment the Bodie fund."
Bodie is St. Johnsbury's new K-9 police officer. The K-9 program is support by private donations. St. Johnsbury police plan to sell the gun and put the proceeds in the K-9 fund. K-9 Bodie is trained to perform multiple tasks including drug searches.
According to court documents, Takahashi's blue 2005 Volkswagen hatchback was stopped by Ofc. Anna Allard near the Fenton Road intersection and that as she talked with Takahashi she detected a "strong odor" of what she suspected to be marijuana coming from the vehicle.
St. Johnsbury Police Chief Clem Houde then responded to the scene and said he spoke with Takahashi and that Takahashi gave police permission to search his car.
Police said they found a backpack containing 0.035 oz. of cocaine in a tin and 2.9 oz. of marijuana in several plastic bags that had been individually packaged and labeled.
Police said that while searching Takahashi's car they also located a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson "Body Guard 380" handgun under the front passenger seat and a loaded magazine of .38 caliber ammunition in the drivers' side door.
Before the plea deal negotiated by defense attorney David Sleigh of St. Johnsbury and Deputy Caledonia County State's Attorney Kirk Williams, Takahashi had been facing a possible maximum sentence of three years in jail on the felony marijuana charge and one year for the misdemeanor cocaine charge. Takahashi had no prior Vermont criminal record.
Allard is no longer with the St. Johnsbury Police Department.