Police: Officer arrested same man twice for crack possession

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published January 6, 2023


HAZEL PARK — A Hazel Park man who was caught in possession of crack cocaine in November is facing double the charges after allegedly being caught with the substance again in December, leading to a consolidated case in the new year.

Robert Preston, 50, was charged in Hazel Park 43rd District Court with two counts of possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance, each a felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison.

Preston’s bond was set at $5,000, for which he posted 10% bail and was freed while awaiting trial. He had also been released on personal bond after the original incident.

His probable cause conference was held on Jan. 3, after which the case was bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court.

“I would just say he’s innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the facts will come out in court,” said Preston’s attorney, Donald Andrews. 

The first police encounter occurred Nov. 14, when a Hazel Park patrol officer reportedly tried to pull over Preston when he was driving in the area of Eight Mile Road and North Chrysler Drive.

Preston was allegedly operating his 2003 Pontiac Vibe with obstructed vision, and also had no insurance for the vehicle. Police say that Preston ignored attempts to stop him for roughly a half mile after the officer signaled to him. During that time, he was reportedly reaching down into the interior of his car, leading police to think he was concealing something.

When police finally stopped him, he reportedly consented to a search of his person and vehicle, which is when the crack cocaine was allegedly found in the breast pocket of his jacket. He reportedly offered no explanation to police when asked about it, and he was released following his arraignment hearing.

Nearly a month later, shortly after midnight on Dec. 9, Preston was once again stopped by the same officer, this time while driving in the area of John R and Nine Mile roads.

The second stop was initiated because his tail light was allegedly out, and the license plate couldn’t be read in the dark. But what reportedly made the officer suspicious, however, was Preston’s explanation about where he had been. That lead to a second request to search him and his vehicle.

After Preston reportedly consented, the officer once again found crack cocaine, this time allegedly stashed in an inhaler that Preston kept in a compartment on the driver’s side door.

At first, he reportedly claimed he had breathing issues, and that the inhaler was from a friend, saying he was unaware of its contents. However, when questioned after the arrest, he allegedly admitted that the crack cocaine was his and that he had placed it in the device.

Brian Buchholz, the police chief of Hazel Park, said in an email that illegal drugs such as crack cocaine pose a risk to the community, leading to reckless behavior and acts of desperation.

“There are so many dangerous drugs out there. Too many to list, but cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and plenty of others ruin lives by their dependency,” Buchholz said. “Many times, this dependency leads to a life of other crimes to sustain their habit, and ruins family and friends also because of it.”