COVINGTON -- A traffic stop in the early morning hours Saturday by a Covington Police Department officer led to two arrests of suspects believed to be involved in the drug trade.
Arrested and charged were Keyon Donaldson, 32, of 3313 Westbourough Lane, Conyers, and Eric Elijah Armstrong, 22, of 1108 Arbor Crossing Drive, Lithonia. They were each charged with theft by receiving stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and open container. Donaldson was also charged with driving on a suspended license and taillight violation.
According to a CPD incident report, around 2 a.m. the officer saw a white Ford Fusion traveling west on U.S. Highway 278 with no taillights. A traffic stop was conducted on the Interstate 20 west Exit 90 on-ramp.
"I approached the driver's side of the vehicle and observed a black female in the front passenger seat and a black male in the back passenger seat, but no one was in the driver's seat," the incident report states.
The officer said she immediately detected the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.
When the officer asked who was driving the vehicle, the female stated the male was driving and that "she was taking him to the hospital." However, the officer noted the hospital was in the opposite direction and when she asked the male why he was in the back seat, he couldn't give her a answer but merely said his leg was hurting and he needed to go to the hospital. The officer called for an ambulance to be en route.
The officer said both suspects were "sweating profusely," and the female was very fidgety and wouldn't not obey commands to keep her hands visible.
"The male appeared to be disoriented and confused," the report states.
When backup arrived, both suspects were asked to get out of the vehicle and an officer spotted some drugs in the vehicle.
The incident report states a "green leafy substance" was found in a clear plastic bag in the back floorboard and an officer stated that he saw the male passenger remove it from his pocket. When the suspect was searched, bags of the substance were also found in the backseat passenger's pockets, as well as in the back seat.
As the search of the vehicle continued, a loaded 9mm handgun, stolen out of Rockdale County, was located under the front passenger seat.
Inside a purse found to belong to Donaldson in the front passenger seat, a large amount of currency in denominations ranging from ones to twenties, totaling $1,750, was located. A canine alerted to the presence of narcotics when he sniffed the currency, the report states.
Also, inside the vehicle a clear capsule containing a white crystal-like substance was located in the cup holder between the front seats.
"It appeared to be a 'Molly,' the term given to the crystallized form of ecstasy (or MDMA) and is often mixed with other substances such as cocaine, crack, meth or bath salts. It tested positive for methamphetamine," the report states.
When confronted about the stolen gun, both Donaldson and Armstrong denied knowledge of the gun and said it belonged to a friend of theirs.
An open bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandel was also located in the vehicle.
Both Donaldson and Armstrong had been detained in the same patrol unit while officers were searching the vehicle and apparently a recording device captured their conversation.
"Discussion of who would take what charges was the majority of their conversation. Armstrong states, 'I'll take your weed charge,' and "I'm not taking the meth.' Prior to us even finding the gun, they discussed pinning the gun on a friend ... as (the officer) was searching Donaldson's purse, Armstrong asked Donaldson, 'Do you have any mollies in there?' Donaldson was also concerned that I saw her trade seats from the driver's seat to the passenger seat. Armstrong stated he was asleep in the backseat," the incident report states.