MANCHESTER — The odor of burnt marijuana wafting from Joshua Robidas’ car caught the attention of a Hillsborough police officer, but it was the methamphetamine that was discovered as Robidas reached for a pair of pliers that sent him to prison.
As part of a plea agreement, Robidas, 40, of Hillsborough, was sentenced in Hillsborough Superior Court-North on Wednesday to 3-6 years in state prison after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled drug (methamphetamine) with intent to distribute.
According to court documents, Hillsborough Police Officer Ethan Vaillancourt was on patrol shortly before midnight on Jan. 19, 2018, when he saw a BMW pull into a closed gas station. The car parked near the door and the headlights were turned off.
After parking his cruiser behind the BMW, Vaillancourt approached Robidas, the driver and only occupant, who said he was waiting for an employee but couldn’t remember the person’s name. As the officer spoke to Robidas he could smell the burnt marijuana coming from inside the car, documents state.
When Vaillancourt asked about the odor, Robidas admitted having smoked marijuana earlier in the day, according to documents. Robidas then agreed to allow the officer search the BMW.
Due to a broken door handle, Robidas had to use a pair of pliers to open the door. As he reached for the pliers, Vaillancourt said he could see in plain view a bag containing a white crystal substance in the center console, according to court documents.
Believing the bag contained methamphetamine, the officer searched the vehicle and recovered a total of less than an ounce of methamphetamine, according to court documents.
After his arrest, Robidas told officers he was “disappointed in himself,’’ documents state.