Two Florida men were arrested this week on suspicion of possessing a half-kilogram of cocaine after they were stopped for talking on a handheld cellphone while driving, officials said.
The men — Herwood Barrington Walters, 25, and Courtney Lalor, 28 — were taken into custody about 9:18 p.m. Tuesday on North Central Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard on suspicion of possessing cocaine for sale, according to Glendale police reports.
The pair provided officers with few clues about why they were in Glendale, but police believe “they were probably trying to sell the cocaine,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
Police spotted Walters talking on a handheld cellphone while driving before he made a right turn without signaling 100 feet prior, according to Glendale police reports.
They stopped the rented Chevrolet Impala and asked Walters, who claimed he was a runway model and actor, to step out of the driver's seat after he appeared “extremely nervous,” police said.
Walters consented to a search of the Impala after officers said “it seemed a little suspicious because he just came in from Florida [Tuesday] and he was driving around aimlessly in Glendale while speaking on his cellphone,” according to police reports.
Officers searched the trunk, where they found two suitcases — one containing clothing for two days and a book called “Raw Law: An Urban Guide to Criminal Justice,” police said.
Under the trunk floorboard and on top of a spare tire, police found a brown paper bag containing a sealed bag with a taped brick of compressed cocaine, according to police.
Walters and Lalor denied knowledge of its existence.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department crime lab is slated to analyze the cocaine, Lorenz said.
In Los Angeles, a kilogram of cocaine can cost $17,000 to $21,000 depending on the wholesale rate, Lorenz said.
A half-kilogram of cocaine is about 1.1 pounds, or about 500 grams. From a half-kilogram, a dealer can portion out about 2,000 packages for $20 each, Lorenz said, although it is often diluted with vitamins or other chemicals to increase profits, he added.
Lalor was convicted in 2008 for trafficking 25 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana in Palm Beach, Fla., according to court records. He was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to undergo drug testing.
Walters was convicted in October in Hanover, Md., after police arrested him and another man for possessing more than 8,200 grams of marijuana with the intent to distribute, according to court records.
The marijuana had a street value of $165,000, according to county police.
Walters was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to serve unsupervised probation for a year, according to court records.
Walters and Lalor were released from Glendale police custody Wednesday afternoon after posting bail.