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Judge grants motion to suppress evidence seized from Sapp’s car

September 5, 1997

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The misdemeanor marijuana possession case against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp may be nearing an end.

A Hillsborough County judge granted a motion Thursday to suppress evidence seized by police during a June 7 traffic stop, a ruling that could lead to the dismissal of charges.

Police, acting on an anonymous tip that Sapp was in a house in an east Tampa neighborhood buying drugs, stopped the player’s Mercedes and found 3.7 grams of marijuana in the car’s console and 9 more grams in a backpack that a passenger said did not belong to Sapp.

Sapp’s attorney, Ron Hanes, argued in a motion filed Aug. 25 that the stop was illegal because police had no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and there had been no violation of traffic laws.

Although Hanes said he expects the case to be dismissed at a hearing before Judge James Dominguez next Thursday, prosecutors could appeal the decision.

``We’re hopeful that the judge’s ruling is accepted by the state as the correct statement of the law,″ Hanes said.