Loudon County traffic stop uncovers more than a pound of meth, guns
News Sentinel staff
Three people are facing a slew of charges after police seized more than a pound of methamphetamine from the trunk of a car during a tense traffic stop in Loudon County.
The episode began about 4:20 a.m. Aug. 7 when an officer stopped a suspected DUI driver behind the wheel of a Mercury Cougar along state Highway 72, according to a Loudon Police Department news release Monday.
As the officer moved to stop the vehicle, he was cut off by a Volkswagen Jetta that began tailgating the Mercury.
Both vehicles pulled up to the fuel pumps of nearby gas station. As the officer focused his attention on the Mercury's driver, the occupants of the Jetta looked on, "so much so they forgot to pump fuel into their vehicle while they were parked at the pumps," the release states.
The Mercury's driver, Randi Danelle Thibault, 32, was found to be driving on a suspended license and subsequently failed a field sobriety test.
The two men in the Jetta claimed they didn't know her, while Thibault admitted she knew one of them.
The Jetta's driver, Jason Levi Hutchinson, 35, did not have a valid driver's license. The felon, however, did have a loaded .380-caliber handgun and two bags of meth in his pants pockets, according to the release.
As Hutchinson and Thibault were being taken into custody, the Jetta's passenger, 33-year-old Jimmy Dean Lowe suddenly stated there was "a lot more dope in the front seat of the (Cougar)," the release states.
A search of the Cougar uncovered six large zip-lock bags containing more than 21 ounces of meth, along with an unspecified amount of cash, several pills, drug paraphernalia and a 9 mm Hi-Point pistol.
Officers then searched the Jetta, in which they alleged seized another bag containing an unspecified amount of methamphetamine from the passenger seat.
All three people remained in custody at the Loudon County Jail on Monday.
Thibault was being held in lieu of $137,000 on charges DUI, driving on a suspended license, manufacture/sale/delivery/resale of Schedule II and Schedule III drugs, manufacture/sale/possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Hutchinson was being held in lieu of $102,000 bond on charges of manufacture/sale/delivery/resale of Schedule II drugs, manufacture/sale/possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a weapon and driving on a revoked/suspended license.
Lowe is charged with manufacture/sale/possession of a controlled substance and tampering/fabricating with evidence. His bond is set at $70,000.