Elusive drug suspects at E.J. Knight Apartments might have slipped from officers if not for the persistence of an anonymous caller.
Bernard Gibson, 19, was the only man among three suspects arrested Tuesday after police returned to the 3811 Baker Plaza Drive complex multiple times to search for occupants of a suspect vehicle.
Gibson faced charges of methamphetamine possession with intent to distribute, cocaine possession with intent to distribute, marijuana possession with intent to distribute, obstruction of law enforcement and crossing the guard line during a Wednesday morning Recorders Court hearing.
An officer told the court Gibson first raised suspicions when a car he occupied passed two patrolling officials near Benning Drive and Winston Road. The policemen had their windows rolled down, and could smell marijuana coming strongly from the vehicle.
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Police followed the vehicle back to the E.J. Knight Apartments, but were unable to make a traffic stop. By the time they caught up, the occupants had vacated the area. The officer reported he could smell the marijuana even more clearly when he approached the car, in part because the driver's side door had been left ajar.
Officers were just pulling out of the complex when they received reports from an anonymous tipper that the suspects were standing around the car; no men were found when the officers returned.
Twice more the police started to leave, then doubled back to investigate the witness's reports. Finally, on the third return trip, Gibson and the pursuing officers spotted each other. Gibson bounded toward Benning Drive and over an 8-foot fence before he was apprehended by another two officers patrolling on a nearby street.
Gibson was arrested for obstruction, searched and asked to turn in any contraband. A marijuana grinder and about 30 assorted 9mm and 40mm bullets were also found in the car, then confiscated.
Police informed Gibson he would risk a felony charge if illegal substances were found in his possession at Muscogee County Jail, but the warning was in vain. While a deputy watched him change into jail attire, he observed Gibson attempting to obscure a plastic bag in his waistband.
Jail officials recorded the following drugs inside the large plastic bag: 96 grams of marijuana in 19 bags, valued at $960; 1.2 grams of cocaine broken into five pieces, valued at $120; and 2 grams of meth divided into three bags, valued at $200.
Gibson's contraband was not found during the search due to the suspect wearing multiple pairs of pants, the officer said.
Judge Michael Cielinski set Gibson's bond at $28,500. His case will be forwarded to Muscogee County Superior Court.