By Lynda Jones
Two men released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2016 are in the Houston County Jail, facing multiple theft of firearm charges following a Crockett traffic stop during the wee hours Sunday, Sept. 10.
Sgt. Alfredo Fajardo of the Crockett Police Department reported seeing a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer leaving the Holiday Inn Express parking lot while he was on patrol at approximately 2:48 a.m. Sunday.
"The vehicle proceeded north on State Loop 304 in front of me and as it slowed for the intersection at East Bowie Avenue, I saw that its high mounted stop lamp was not working, as required by law," Fajardo stated in the Warrantless Arrest Probable Cause Statement.
When Fajardo initiated a traffic stop on the Trailblazer, it continued into the Xpress Truck Stop parking lot where it came to a stop at the fuel pumps, Fajardo reported.
While speaking with the vehicle's occupants, Andrew Joe Atkinson, 22, and Brodrick Da'shon Gaston, 21, Fajardo reportedly observed a Rock River Arms LAR-15 rifle in plain view in between the two in the second row floorboard.
Fajardo also reportedly saw another rifle soft case on the back seat, and what appeared to be gang-related tattoos on Gaston's hands.
According to the Probable Cause Statement, dispatch confirmed both subjects are felons. Atkinson was released from TDCJ in March 2016 after serving time for theft of property, >$1,500 <$20,000.
Gaston, a registered Natural Born Trappers gang member according to the Probable Cause Statement, was convicted of unlawful carrying a weapon prohibited places (third degree felony) in July 2016 and was on parole with TDCJ until Oct. 31, 2017.
"When asked about the firearms in the vehicle after being advised of the Miranda Warnings, both subjects denied ownership of the guns and Atkinson first stated that someone else had put them in the car," Fajardo stated in his report. "They both were uncooperative and were advised that they were under arrest," he alleged.
The report continues, "After they were arrested, both subjects were searched. During the search, both were found to have a window punch and broken pieces of glass in their pockets. "
Fajardo further stated in the report, "During a probable cause vehicle search, I found that the soft rifle case contained a Marlin model 389 .50 caliber dart rifle (a firearm that uses .22 caliber blank power loads). I also found a soft pistol case on the front passenger seat that contained a Taurus Judge revolver. On the front passenger floorboard, I found a green bag that contained darts for the rifle and several items for animal vaccinations."
Another officer, Lt. Lonnie Lum, went to the Holiday Inn Express and found three vehicles that had broken windows. Lum and Fajardo contacted all three vehicle owners and they confirmed evidence taken from Gaston and Atkinson belonged to the vehicles' owners, according to the CPD report.
Atkinson and Gaston each are charged with burglary of a vehicle x three, theft of a firearm x three and unlawful possession of firearm by a felon.
Bond was set as follows: three bonds at $8,000 each for burglary of vehicle, $15,000 for unlawful possession of firearm by felon and three bonds at $10,000 for theft of firearms (total $69,000 each suspect).
Both remain in custody at the Houston County Jail as of press time Tuesday afternoon, Sept.12.