WARWICK, RI — Warwick Officer Aaron Steere spotted a gray 2017 Chrysler 300 four-door traveling on Rte. 37 west April 17 at 11:43 p.m. that was swerving and trailing an odor of marijuana, stopped the driver and arrested him for possession of crack cocaine, according to the officer’s narrative in the report of the arrest listed in the Warwick Police Log.
Steere observed after-market tint on the Chrysler’s windows, as well as a doughnut spare on right rear wheel and recent damage to the right driver’s side front door, according to the officer’s report. Given the odor of marijuana, the damage to the car, the after-market tint and erratic operation, Steere pulled the car over.
Steere spoke to the driver, who initially identified himself as Joseph Boone, 42, the apparent renter of the car. A background check of his name showed he had 34 prior arrests for assault, kidnapping, breaking and entering, possession of heroin and assault with dangerous weapon. Later, police ascertained his actual identity, Branden Bannister, 29, of 17 Court St., Boston, MA, who also had a lengthy criminal history including robbery, assault and battery, resisting arrest, assault on police, assault with a dangerous weapon, and six prior convictions for possession of illegal drugs with intent to deliver.
Based on the criminal record of the driver’s alias and the man’s temperament, Steere called in assistance from another officer, Joseph Donato. Steere asked Bannister to get out of the car, but he refused. Eventually, the officer was able to coax the driver out of his car.
While searching the car, Steere could still smell a strong odor of marijuana, he reported. Inside the car, he found a number of pieces of molding that appeared to have been tampered with, Steere reported. Under the headliner over the driver’s seat, Steere found a rolled up napkin wrapped in another napkin, within which he found a three grams of crack cocaine. In a pillar molding, Steere found .7 grams of powder cocaine, as well as 1 gram of marijuana.
Steere also found an electronic scale and baggies associated with illegal drug sales. Steere arrested Bannister and transported him to Warwick Police Headquarters, 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, where he was charged with felony possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, obstructing an officer, and driving with a suspended license.
The owner of the rental car, Enterprise Rental, informed them the car was overdue to be returned and they had been in the process of filling out a report about the theft