HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – A traffic stop of expired tags led to Evansville officers finding much more than first thought.
According to an affidavit, officers observed a maroon Mazda traveling east with vehicle registration expired on April 14, 2023. After initiating a traffic stop, Marquelle Smith, 33, quickly exited the vehicle with paperwork in hand. Smith allegedly stated the vehicle belonged to him, and he was getting the registration switched over and was waiting for the tags to be mailed.
Officials say Smith continued to be argumentative, refusing to answer questions and if he had any weapons on him. Due to Smith’s uncooperating nature, officers tried to perform a pat down, but he continued to not follow commands and tried to walk away after being ordered to turn around.
The affidavit also states after backup arrived, Smith was able to be detained by force, and officers could not locate any form of insurance or financial responsibility.
Officials also say officers found a Smith and Wesson handgun under the driver’s seat. Smith’s passenger, Tyrez Brown, 34, informed officers the gun was Smith’s and was legally allowed to carry it. Brown also informed officers he had a firearm under his seat, a 9mm Springfield. It was later discovered that firearm was stolen out of Vanderburgh County.
Smith was taken to Deaconess hospital, and after an x-ray, staff allegedly told officers two baggies were found on the floor that were not there before. One baggie appeared to contain a substance that was brown and sand like. The other one had a orange pressed pill. It was later determined the brown substance to be heroin. Smith stated he had no idea where it came from.
Smith and Brown were taken to the Vanderburgh County Corrections Center. Smith is being charged with possession of a firearm by a serious, violent felon, possession of cocaine or other narcotics, resisting law enforcement and operating without insurance. Brown is being charged with possession of stolen property.
Smith has a prior felony conviction for dealing cocaine and trafficking of drugs to sell out of Cleveland, Ohio. Brown had a felony charge out of Cleveland for aggravated burglary.