Car Stop, K9 Sniff Lead to Arrests of Connecticut Men for Cocaine Trafficking


At about 5:45 p.m. yesterday, Trooper Daniel Cahill, assigned to Massachusetts State Police-Westfield, stopped a 2017 Infiniti Q50 sedan on the Massachusetts Turnpike westbound in Westfield for a cancelled Connecticut registration. The car was occupied by two males.

Neither the driver, identified as MARCELLO POLANCO, 43, of Willimantic, Ct., nor the passenger, TODD A. JOINER, 52, of Hartford, had an active driver’s license, and neither was the registered owner of the vehicle.  During the Trooper’s discussion with the men, they provided him with inconsistent information, and appeared to not know each other’s names.

Trooper Cahill requested that a K9 unit respond to the scene. MSP K9 Section Trooper Norman Stanikmas and his partner Emma responded and conducted a sniff of the Infiniti. During her exterior sniff, Emma alerted above the driver’s side front tire, near the hood. Once inside the car, Emma alerted to the vents on the front passenger side and at the center console.

Troopers then searched the car and located, inside the engine compartment, a white shopping bag containing two vacuum sealed bags of white powder. Based on Troopers’ training and experience, they determined the contents of the bags, which had an approximate total weight of 483 grams, was consistent with cocaine.

Troopers placed POLANCO and JOINER under arrest, charging each of them with trafficking in cocaine; possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

While the men were being booked at State Police-Westfield, Troopers further located a bag of suspected heroin that JOINER was concealing in his rectum. JOINER was additionally charged with possession of heroin.

POLANCO, the driver, was additionally issued a citation for unlicensed operation, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and not having a license in his possession.

The men were transported to Hampden County House of Correction to be held pending bail or arraignment in Westfield District Court later this week.