by Emily Waldrep
Tyler County Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Laurent was working routine patrol in the Little Flock Road area near Highway 1013 on July 25 due to a high number of complaints from local citizens regarding drug trafficking and drug use.
According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Laurent made a routine traffic stop and identified the driver as Gene Jones, age 59. It was determined that Jones had been drinking. Jones admitted to the deputy that he had some illegal narcotics in his vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed crack cocaine and a crack pipe. Both items were field-tested and both tested positive for cocaine.
Jones was arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1, Driving While License Invalid, Expired Registration and Open Container.
On the same day in the same area, Deputy Laurent made another traffic stop on a vehicle and identified the driver as Larry Chatman, age 38.
A routine driver license check revealed that Chatman's licenses were suspended and that Chatman had an active warrant out of Harris County. While speaking to Chatman, Deputy Laurent noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Chatman was then arrested for the outstanding warrant and a subsequent inventory search of the vehicle revealed a small piece of marijuana blunt in the rear ashtray of the vehicle.
Chatman was arrested and charged with the prior warrants in addition to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
"I want to be sure and thank the good, hardworking people of that community who have been calling us and giving us information," Sheriff Weatherford said. "What I'm excited about is that people are calling us and wanting us in that area and to have an extra law enforcement presence. That helps us out a lot.