Court

ELKTON — A man caught with nearly one ounce of fentanyl and other drugs during a traffic stop near Elkton in May 2020 is facing up to 20 years in prison after a Cecil County Circuit Court jury found him guilty of all four charges.

Jurors deliberated for approximately 90 minutes on Thursday, after a two-day trial, before convicting the defendant, Hunter Dakota Gatewood, 26, of the 200 block of Water Street in Cecilton, of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine and two lesser charges, court records show.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 16.

Assistant State’s Attorney Harold Scott Lewis prosecuted Gatewood, who was represented by Elkton-based defense lawyer Ellis Rollins III. During the trial, the defense attacked the credibility of the investigation. Gatewood elected not to testify on his own behalf. Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes presided over the jury trial.

Dfc. Brian Bravo of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office made the traffic stop at approximately 9 p.m. on May 18, 2020 on Augustine Herman Highway (Route 213) near Walter Boulden Street, after noticing that a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu had a malfunctioning front headlight, police reported.

Gatewood was a front-seat passenger in that car, which was occupied by three other men, including the driver, according to police.

Bravo dispatched CCSO Sr. Deputy Joseph Cunningham and his specially trained scent dog, K9 Ares, after “detecting a strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from inside the car, police reported.

The deputy arrested Gatewood at the traffic stop scene, after learning that Elkton Police Department investigators wanted Gatewood on an outstanding warrant charging him with robbery and second-degree assault relating to an April 8, 2020 incident, police said.

At the outset of the traffic stop, police added, Gatewood twice gave the deputy a fake name of “River Gatewood,” before revealing his real identity after Bravo found computer records that indicated otherwise and then asked the question a third time.

Ares alerted to the presence of illegal drugs, specifically on the front passenger side door, where Gatewood had been seated, while performing a sniff scan outside the vehicle, police reported.

Under the front-passenger seat that had been occupied by Gatewood, investigators found a Champion waist bag containing a zippered pouch holding six bundles of suspect fentanyl, with each bundle holding several baggies of the drug, and crystal meth, according to charging documents, which also indicate that marijuana was seized, too, during the search.

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