Traffic stop leads to drug and weapons arrest

Elaine Rackley


A McDonough man was arrested on drug and weapon possession charges, after he was stopped police for not wearing a seatbelt.

Henry County police became suspicious of James William Smith, 50, Wednesday, during a traffic stop at North Henry Boulevard and Burke Street, in Stockbridge.

Police pulled Smith over for being "unrestrained" while driving, according to the police report.

Officer Steve Harlan wrote that Smith, who was driving a blue 1994 Ford Ranger, appeared to be "nervous, fidgety, and was stuttering" while talking with the officer.

"I noticed a blow torch and a brown paper bag rolled up that appeared [he] may have been concealing contraband on the front seat," stated the report.

Harlan asked Smith if he had any firearms in his car, he replied "yes." "He pointed to the driver side floor board and stated it was next to his leg," continued the report.

The officer wrote, he asked Smith to step out of the car, and searched him for more weapons. "I informed him [of] the reason for the stop, and that I would be issuing him a written warning."

While searching the vehicle Harlan removed a firearm, a Heritage .22 caliber, and ran it through the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC), "which revealed it was not on file."

"After observing his nervous behavior and observing in plain view drug paraphernalia along with a firearm, I asked him for consent to search his vehicle, which he gave," wrote Harlan.

The officer searched the car, continued Harlan, and "discovered a clear plastic baggie containing approximately 22.5 grams of a crystal substance [suspected Methamphetamine]. Inside the paper bag was a glass pipe with a white powdery substance on the front seat. Also on the front seat was a digital scale and two boxes of .22 cal ammunition."

Harlan found a Georgia license plate in the bed of the truck, which they determined was stolen from a McDonough Transhaul trailer, which was reported stolen on Feb. 11.

Smith was arrested and transported to the North Precinct where he was interviewed a narcotics agent. Afterwards he was taken to the Henry County Jail.

Smith is charged with possession of controlled substance (meth) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft receiving.

He was released from jail on a $20,000 bond on Feb. 26., according to jail records.