Home Crime Seat Belt Infraction Leads to Felony Arrest

Seat Belt Infraction Leads to Felony Arrest

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – A Lovelady woman was arrested on two felony charges and two misdemeanors after she was stopped for not wearing her seatbelt.

April Frances Barnes, 35, was charged with possession of a dangerous drug, unlawful carrying of a weapon, possession of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence after she was pulled over at the intersection of East Houston Avenue and South Third Street for the traffic violation.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the incident occurred on the afternoon of Sept. 11 at approximately 4:30 pm.

Crockett Police Department Captain Alfredo Fajardo initiated the traffic stop and when he made contact with Barnes “… she admitted that she had Tramadol, a medication which requires a prescription, in her purse and that the medication was not in a bottle,” the report indicated.

The probable cause document went on to state Barnes told the police captain she had been prescribed  the Tramadol several years ago but only recently found the pills when she was moving. She also informed Fajardo that she had a handgun under the passenger seat of her car.

The police report stated Fajardo asked for permission to search the vehicle Barnes was driving and she gave her consent.

“When I asked if she had anything in the pockets of the medical scrubs she was wearing, she made several movements with her hands and at one point I thought she hid something in the back of her pants in or around her buttocks, but I was unsure if she had or had not,” the affidavit stated.

During the search of the vehicle, Fajardo found the handgun Barnes had mentioned and when he searched her purse he “… found five yellow in color, round pills with the Characters ‘M’ on one side and ‘751’ on the other side. These pills were inside a transparent, zip-lock bag, along with multiple other very small zip-lock bags, so small that they would only fit one pill apiece.”     

The pills were identified as a muscle relaxer known as Flexeril, which also requires a prescription. Barnes was asked if there was anyone she could call to bring proof of her prescription, but she said there was no one to call. The Tramadol pills were never found.

The report stated Barnes was placed under arrest for possession of a dangerous drug and for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Before she was placed in the backseat of Fajardo’s patrol unit, the affidavit reported Fajardo asked if she had any other type of contraband hidden on her person. Barnes said she did not and was transported to the Houston County Justice Center.

Before Fajardo arrived at the jail, however, Barnes admitted she had a methamphetamine pipe in her underwear, but added she did not have any meth in her possession. Once at the jail, Barnes was searched and the meth pipe was found.

After turning her over to the jail staff, Fajardo went back to his patrol unit and searched the back seat of the vehicle where he “… found a large crystal, suspected of being methamphetamine, lying on top of the seat where Barnes had previously been sitting.”

When confronted about the meth, Barnes informed the law enforcement officials she had removed the pipe from her pants at one point and then put it back.

“She claimed the pipe and methamphetamine were not hers, but belonged to a friend,” the affidavit reported.

Barnes was charged with possession of a dangerous drug (a class A misdemeanor), unlawful carrying of a weapon (a class A misdemeanor), possession of a controlled substance (state jail felony) and tampering with evidence (third degree felony). It was also discovered she had two warrants out for her arrest.    

She is currently held at the Houston County Jail on bonds totaling $13,484.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.