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Traffic stops lead to felony drug arrests


News Staff Writer

Four Atmore men, including one who was issued a summons and released more than a month ago due to COVID requirements at the county jail, were booked into the Escambia County Detention Center over the past week on felony drug possession charges that resulted from three separate traffic stops by city police.
Norman Henderson, 39, was initially charged on January 21 with first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia after he ran a red light on East Nashville Avenue.
Reports show that the investigating officer detected a “heavy smell of what he believed to be marijuana” coming from the vehicle, leading to further investigation.
A search turned up almost 23 ounces of pot, divided into small bags and located at different areas of the vehicle. Police also found 49 Oxycodone tablets in the vehicle’s trunk.
Henderson was processed into the county jail March 2 and released on bond that same day.
Jshailian Deshay Bright, 22, and Matthew Edward Thomas, 35, were arrested March 4 after Thomas, who was driving a vehicle in which both men were riding, failed to maintain his lane while traveling along Martin Luther King Avenue.
Reports show the APD officer activated his blue lights, but Thomas refused to stop. As he continued to drive, the officers observed “objects being thrown out the window on the passenger side.”
The objects turned out to be a “bag of a green, leafy substance believed to be marijuana.” A handgun with an extended magazine, as well as a set of scales, was also found.
Bright is charged with one count each of first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm without a license and possession of drug paraphernalia. Thomas is charged with one count each of possession of an undisclosed controlled substance, attempting to elude police and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both men remained in the county jail Monday, March 7. Their bond amounts are not posted.
Timothy Ryan Hyatt, 44, remained in the ECDC lockup Monday, March 7, charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia after a March 6 traffic stop. The amount of his bond was not posted.
APD reports show that a patrol officer pulled the vehicle over after “observing that neither Hyatt nor a juvenile passenger in his vehicle were wearing seatbelts” as Hyatt drove the vehicle south on Jack Springs Road.
A clear, plastic baggie containing 2.6 grams of a “white, crystal-like substance” was found in Hyatt’s pocket. The substance field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
Police Chief Chuck Brooks admitted that use and abuse of marijuana, meth and other illicit substances has become a fact of life, here as much as anywhere else. However, he said, APD officers will have their eyes open for signs that individuals are in violation of drug laws while operating a vehicle on public streets and roads.
“What can I say? Unfortunately, that’s where we are (in our society),” Brooks said of the drug situation. “But we have zero tolerance for people operating a vehicle while abusing drugs or transporting narcotics on our streets. If we find drugs during a traffic stop, we will arrest you.”