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Cardboard tag leads to foot chase, drug arrest in Porterdale

PORTERDALE, Ga. – A traffic stop for a cardboard tag Monday evening led to a fight, foot chase and ultimately a drug arrest for a Newton County man with a lengthy criminal record.

According to a Porterdale Police Department incident report, Officer Matt Munger was observing traffic on the Highway 162 Connector just before 7:30 p.m. March 12 when he saw a black Toyota Corolla driving northbound displaying a cardboard paper tag saying “Tag Applied For.”

Munger initiated a traffic stop on the Corolla. According to the report, the driver, identified as 43-year-old Barry Thrasher was moving around in the vehicle as if he was trying to hide something. When asked for his driver’s license, Thrasher reportedly said he did not have it with him. He also did not provide any vehicle documentation.

According to the report, while Munger was attempting to check the vehicle identification number on the Corolla, Thrasher continued to move around in the vehicle and put his hands where they could not be seen. While speaking with Thrasher, Munger reportedly noticed a clear, plastic straw in the change holder on the dash. The straw reportedly had a white powdery substance on the end of it.

Munger asked Thrasher to step out of the car. According to the report, when he attempted to detain Thrasher using handcuffs, he resisted.

“I got the right handcuff on and Mr. Thrasher began to physically resist me,” Munger reported. "Mr. Thrasher began swinging at me and trying to snatch away. At one point Mr. Thrasher attempted to bite my hand which was holding the handcuff. Mr. Thrasher also put his hand on my gun which was in the holster attached to my belt.”

According to the report, Munger struggled with Thrasher for a period of time until he was able to draw his Taser. After giving Thrasher verbal commands to stop fighting which were ignored, Munger reportedly deployed the Taser striking Thrasher in the backside of his shirt but not making contact with his skin.

“At that point, Mr. Thrasher fled on foot behind Burger King towards the Bypass,” Munger reported. “Once we made it to the Bypass, I was able to catch Mr. Thrasher and hold him down until (Newton County Sheriff's Office) Deputy Bartlett arrived on scene and completed the handcuffing process.”

Once Thrasher was in custody, he was escorted back to the original scene. Munger reportedly located the jacket Thrasher was wearing before the fight on the ground. According to the report, a clear bag with a large amount of cocaine and suspected oxycodone was found in the jacket.

Munger also reportedly found a large jar of marijuana under a jacket in the rear passenger floor of the Corolla. In the center console, he located multiple clear baggies and two digital scales. Munger also reportedly found a clear baggie with a small amount of cocaine in the door of his patrol unit near where Thrasher was seated in the backseat.

EMS was called to the scene to check Thrasher for injuries. He was transported to the Newton County Jail and escorted inside. According to the report, Munger checked the back seat of his patrol car and found a baggie containing a yellow pill and a small amount of powder cocaine. Under the front passenger seat, he found a small, clear baggie with suspected cocaine.

Thrasher also was reportedly carrying $310 in cash when he was arrested. The money was counted and taken as evidence.

According to the NCSO website, Thrasher has a history of arrests in Newton County dating back to 1992. He was charged Monday with no valid registration, no proof of insurance, drug-related objects, obstructing justice, possession of controlled substance, cocaine-smuggle, Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act: sale, distribution or possession of dangerous drugs, marijuana – sell and interference with government property.