Church Hill police seize pills, gun, cash and car in traffic stop

Jeff Bobo • Apr 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — A traffic stop early Sunday morning in Church Hill resulted in the arrest of an alleged drug trafficker and the confiscation of 296 pills, a pistol and $1,667 in cash.

Church Hill Police Chief Mark Johnson said officers received a tip around 2 a.m. Sunday that persons riding in a 1987 Chevrolet Caprice might be involved in drug trafficking.

A few minutes later, Church Hill Police Department Officer Danny Depew stopped the vehicle on Old Union Road for a traffic offense, and the driver was cited for making an improper turn.

Depew reportedly smelled alcohol on the passenger, Jason Daniel Lee Hart, 28, 3224 Van Horn St., Kingsport, and asked him if there was an open container in the car.

Hart, who owns the vehicle, stated that he’d been drinking and had a friend driving him home. Depew then asked if there was anything in the glove compartment, at which time Hart unlocked the glove compartment and opened it, revealing a large amount of pills.

A search of Hart allegedly revealed him to be in possession of a loaded handgun clip in his back pocket, and the cash in his front pocket.

A 9 millimeter handgun was allegedly found under the passenger seat.

Hart reportedly refused to give police a statement except to say that he would be in more trouble “if he ratted anyone out.”

Most of the pills are suspected to be Lortab, although some are believed to be Xanax.

Hart was charged with possession of Schedule III drugs for resale, possession of Schedule IV drugs for resale, violation of the Tennessee Drug Control Act, and carrying a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

Aside from the drugs and the cash, Hart’s 1987 Chevrolet Caprice was also seized.

He remained lodged in the Hawkins County Jail Monday evening under $15,000 bond.

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