A 19-year-old Bettendorf man ordered to spit out marijuana during a traffic stop instead swallowed the drugs, telling the arresting officers he didn’t want to be charged with another possession, police say.

Justin E. Nelson made an initial appearance Tuesday in Scott County District Court, Davenport.

He’s charged with marijuana possession, which is a serious misdemeanor. For allegedly swallowing the drugs, he’s also charged with obstructing prosecution, an aggravated misdemeanor. If convicted of the aggravated misdemeanor, he could be sentenced to up to two years in prison.

Nelson was pulled over in the 1200 block of Grant Street, Bettendorf, at 8:45 p.m. Friday for a broken rear light, according to an arrest affidavit.

Officers saw Nelson chewing marijuana, and Officer Josh Paul grabbed his throat and told him to spit out the drugs, the affidavit stated. Nelson refused and swallowed the marijuana, and he had pieces of marijuana in his teeth and on his shirt, the affidavit states.

Nelson also had a baggie at his feet that had marijuana residue inside, the affidavit states.

In a follow-up search at his home, officers found .72 grams of marijuana, two scales and packaging material in his bedroom, the affidavit states.

At the jail, Nelson told officers that when he saw the lights from the squad car, he put the marijuana in his mouth and began chewing and swallowing it so he wouldn’t be charged with another drug possession, his affidavit states.

In June, he was charged with marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in Rock Island County, records state. Both charges were dismissed Aug. 15.

(16) comments


What a hoot to read the comments from so many pot heads. There is no way I will ever convince you or anyother pot smoker that how the police deal with illegal drug use falls 100% on the drug abuser. If he wants to be left alone, then don't give the police a reason to get in your face. Do you think that hard core drug abusers (meth, cocaine, etc) suddenly started using these drugs out of the blue. Most started with the "innocent" use of marijuana. When that didn't get it done for them, then on to bigger and better highs. Get the drug users, get them all. They rob and steal and will even kill people to get what they need to get their fix. Any time they are caught is a happy time for all of society.


okay. really how are you seriously arrest and take someone to jail for supposeofly seeing them chewing up an illegal substance that shouldn't even be illegal in the first place. What f he has been eating or chewing gum really? Bettendorf cops are complete absolute morons.Has it ever killed anyone ever? NO and yeah I know it has been related to cases but it has never actually been a killer of anyone. OHHH and your gonna put it on the same page as a person that murdered 8 people. get out of here with that. to serve and protect? really. I know someone that got charged with possession of weed and someone posted a similar article like this and he was so upset that the next day he blew his brains out! awesome lets just degrade people to the extent of them wanting to cause bodily harm to their self. This is absolutely absurd and should be taken down or restated.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Eating, chewing gum? Most food that I eat and gum I chew does not leave pot on my face and clothes.


The bettendorf police just amazes me, they're supposed to protect, not search a young mans home for .72 grams of pot. i think it is now time for the police to grow up, he wasnt doing anything wrong, a broken taillight is more dangerous to our community that .72 grams of pot. get the tail light fixed and send him on his way, dont throw him in jail and try to put in there for 2 years. put him on the right path. grow up BPD. Pot doesnt hurt.


How could you write stuff and put a 19 year old kid on the same page as a man who killed really what are you first of all the PD does not care about anything but looking good about themselves .They pulled him over with a broken tail light and when the car was picked up they inspected it and wrote out statement saying all lights worked then they claimed the kid was eating weed where are the pictures of the weed and Officer grabbing him by throat without clear evidence of weed ?How could you see someone chewing weed at night anyways?The house that was raided they come abruptly in finding everyone asleep and destroyed the whole house to find NOTHING but two prescribed sleeping pills which were taken and returned the next day. There was nothing else found in the house ?? A pinch of pot .....funny people snort in bars and have tons of weed in their homes on a daily base people who hit women children and get away with it but you think its funny to destroy a young kid who has a full time job and is going to college to earn his welding degree guess the PD forgot to tell ya that part. Truth is our law enforcement in this country is so messed up all they care about is lieng to look better and destroying people who dont deserve it.I wouldnt ask them for help ever. People make mistakes everyday I really feel for the person who wrote this story out not knowing the facts but heck thats ok lie all ya want it will come out in the end and you will lose.........God knows the truth


This young man "could face 2 years in prison" for some marijuana? Let's see, that would cost tax payors $72,000. But, he could help keep the city "beautiful" by cleaning the streets or working by washing city cars. He could even be forced to go back to school and learn a trade. Now, how much did you just save? Possibly, a young life saved!


You 3 comments above are the reason that the cops are the way they are. Make the criminal the victim. The kid was bad, had priors, and it was all proved right when they searches his home. I dont care how the cops get to it, the criminals should be prosecuted!


really ! have u ever used an illegal substance. your a MORON


OH and im sure he lives at home too So what about his family?? they all get to deal with this its like a chain reaction!


HA. its funny how cops always sugar coat stories in police reports to make themselves seem like the good guys and also how they blatantly lie. I was at the house that got raided, and the whole bases of the raid was because they pulled him over for a phantom broken tail light. All of the lights on the car were in perfect working order, wow good job bettendorf pd, you all are officially morons. I hope a judge sees the sworn statement by the impound worker and throws out your hard fought bust of the year. Also, the cop that pulled him over had to grab him by the throat because he thought he was eating weed. hmm if there was no physical evidence of any weed besides a empty baggie with residue, how can you even put in an article that he ate weed? wheres the proof he ate it? Seems to me like someone in the department feels like an idiot, as they should, and has to make themselves feel better by portraying this young man as a hardened criminal. Bettendorf Police Department, lamest police department in the state of iowa hands down.


what happened to innocent until proven guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your gonna put this out n the open for all to see before he even has a trial!!!!!!!??????? wrongggg


First of all. If you can't back up your story with accurate information, you probably shouldn't be making yourself look like a fool by putting a bunch of false information all in one article & then putting it underneath a MURDER story. If you think that possession of .72 grams of marijuana & murdering 8 people are classified as the same thing then there is something seriously wrong with you. He was choked out because they suspected he was eating marijuana? Correct me if I'm wrong, but for all they know, he could have been chewing & swallowing FOOD. hmm.. I wonder if they ever thought of that in there messed up little heads. & Another thing, he was improperly pulled over, they claim his back tail light was out, but when we went to pick up the car from being IMPOUNDED the man at H&H towing clearly stated that every single light worked perfectly fine on his car. This article is more than ridiculous & i hope you feel good about yourselves by writing all of these false things.


I'll give the Bettendorf cops credit for putting on a good show. I'm surprised the cop didn't pull his gun on him. Maybe next time.


I find it a shame when a arrrest is made and the facts get turned around.The car was pulled over for broken tail light and towed to impound where the impound yard has inspected lights before car was picked up guess what all lights work.I realize the person is at fault for having the so called substance but if the lights were a lie how about the substance. I would request car video from police or did the tape miss this part.

QC Native now in GA

They stopped someone for a broken tail light. They approached the vehicle and saw the driver chewing something. They somehow knew it was marijuana, and they grabbed his throat and ordered him to spit it out, and they charged him with obstruction? Really?


legalize the herb cannabis that has killed no one. whats with the cop grabbing him by the throat? cops are terrorists and a threat to our freedoms and liberties!!!!

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