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Suspected texting while driving leads to drug arrests

Linda Bond 8/18/11 Lread

A traffic stop made because a Forest Park police officer suspected texting while driving led to the discovery of a variety of drugs and the arrest of a Newnan couple on multiple felonies.

Michael Joseph Scott, 33, and Christi Joy Gates, 31, were arrested late Monday night. Forest Park police allege Scott was texting while driving a 2000 Honda Civic along Jonesboro Road about 10:20 p.m., causing the car to drift out of its lane. During the traffic stop, police allege the couple gave permission to search the Honda. Inside the car, police said they found illegal narcotics, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a loaded .25 caliber handgun with the serial number scratched off.

After the couple was arrested, they were searched. Police said they found less than an ounce of marijuana tucked into Gates' underwear. Scott was hiding methamphetamine in his crotch, police said.

The warrant states that Scott is on probation and is a convicted felon who is not supposed to possess firearms. They were charged with drug possession, for having a firearm during the commission of a crime and for altering the gun's serial number.

The couple made their first appearance Wednesday afternoon in Clayton County Magistrate Court. Magistrate Betrice Scott told the co-defendants the drug paraphernalia possession charge was dismissed.

Bond was set for each at $51,500 and they remained in the Clayton County Jail on Thursday.