A traffic stop on US 59 on Monday, April 26, led to the arrests of three Louisiana men on drug and firearm charges. At around 9:44 p.m., Cleveland police officers Joe Rosas and Megan Crowel reportedly observed the men’s vehicle – a 2019 Honda Civic – speeding in a construction zone on US 59 south of Cleveland.
Upon conducting a traffic stop, the officers reportedly detected a strong odor of marijuana in the men’s vehicle.
“Officer Rosas observed the front passenger reaching under the seat and ordered the passenger to show his hands, at which time the passenger complied,” said Capt. Scott Felts, a spokesperson for Cleveland PD, in an emailed statement.
The three occupants of the vehicle – Contrarious Dashawn Kirklin, 25, and Melvin D. Pye Jr., both of Alexandria, La., and Makal Rashawn Neal, 21, of Pineville, La. – were asked to exit the vehicle.
“As the rear passenger exited the vehicle, officers observed an AR-15 pistol in the rear seat area. All three suspects were detained and a search of the vehicle was conducted. During the search, officers located several bags of marijuana, which totaled to a weight of 3.2 pounds,” Felts said.
All three were arrested for Possession of Marijuana, more than 4 oz. but less than 4 lbs., and Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon. If convicted, the drug charge is a state jail felony and the weapons violation is a Class A Misdemeanor.
The three men were transported to Cleveland Police Department’s jail. Municipal Court Judge Ralph Fuller set bonds for each suspect at $10,000 for the gun charge and $30,000 for the drug charge.
“The marijuana appeared to be an altered designer strain, which has a higher THC level. This amount seized could possibly have a street value upwards of $30,000. This is not the marijuana associated with the 60s, 70s and 80s. Marijuana grown in the 1980s averaged a THC level of 4 percent. The strain we seized is believed to have a THC level of 25 percent,” Felts said.