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Move over law violation in Hawkins results in major heroin, cocaine busts

Jeff Bobo • Oct 21, 2019 at 8:00 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office traffic stop that occurred after a vehicle containing two Michigan men failed to obey the move over law early Friday morning in Surgoinsville resulted in two arrests and the confiscation of a large quantity of heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

Among the items allegedly seized from the vehicle was a sealed package containing two separate packages of suspected cocaine and heroin weighing 3.9 ounces.

HCSO Detective Gary Lawson told the Times News that the package wasn't opened by police to weigh the drugs separately, but was instead sent to the TBI crime lab as they found it to preserve any possible DNA and fingerprint evidence.

Heroin sells on the street for about $200 per gram and cocaine sells for about $100 per gram. Lawson estimated that the package was about three-fourths heroin, which would put the estimated overall street value over $18,000.

Around 2:45 a.m. Friday, HCSO Deputy Hunter Jones was stopped on the eastbound right shoulder of Highway 11-W near the Surgoinsville Creek Road intersection with emergency lights on when a 2006 Hyundai Tuscon in the right lane failed to change lanes when it passed by.

Jones stated in his report that he followed the vehicle east into Church Hill, where he conducted a traffic stop near the South Central Avenue intersection.

Upon speaking to the driver, Timothy Keith Cribbs, Jones allegedly smelled marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

During his initial search of the vehicle, Jones allegedly located a small package of “Runtz” — a potent strain of marijuana — on the passenger side floorboard.

A vacuum bag with seven more packages of “Runtz” was allegedly located under the passenger side floor carpet weighing a total of 53.6 grams.

Cribbs, 59, of Detroit, Mich., and his passenger, Larry O'Neal Walker, 21, Harrison Township, Mich., were both arrested.

Lawson later obtained a search warrant for the vehicle that allegedly resulted in deputies locating the vacuum sealed bag in a passenger side compartment containing the cocaine and heroin.

Lawson told the Times News on Monday that the HCSO and other law enforcement agencies in the area had been investigating a Michigan drug connection that operates locally mainly in Sullivan County.

Cribbs and Walker were both suspected drug traffickers in that investigation, and both allegedly admitted they were coming from Michigan that morning.

But, their arrest Friday night wasn't a result of the investigation.

Lawson noted that two suspected drug traffickers and a large quantity of drugs were taken off the streets because Cribbs failed to obey the Tennessee move over law.

Both men were charged with possession of heroin for resale, possession of cocaine for resale and possession of marijuana for resale. Cribbs was additionally charged with the move over law violation and no insurance.

Both were held in the Hawkins County Jail with no bond set pending their arraignment, which was set for Monday in Sessions Court.

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