Traffic stop results in firearm, currency seizure

A Cleveland man is in jail following a traffic stop along the Indiana toll road over the holiday weekend, La Porte County Sheriff’s Office reported today.

Police said that Deputy Wade Wallace was working the Domestic Highway Enforcement (DHE) program along the toll road near the 62-mile marker Sept. 6 when he observed a westbound passenger vehicle following another vehicle too closely.  Near the 58-mile marker, Wallace observed the vehicle change lanes and, while doing so, commit a traffic infraction.  At the 57-mile marker while traveling directly behind the vehicle, Wallace paced the vehicle’s speed at 81 miles per hour.

The officer initiated a traffic stop near the 52-mile marker. While speaking with the occupants, he observed a firearm inside the vehicle.  He secured the firearm for safety purposes. The driver of the car was identified as Brianna N. Sparks and the passenger was identified as Johnnie I. Evans.

Deputy Andy Morse and K9 Jäger arrived to assist.  Morse “deployed Jäger around the exterior of the vehicle for a free-air sniff to which Jäger provided a positive alert,” police said. A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded a large amount of currency in various denominations.

Wallace contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and requested they respond to the scene.  DEA Agents later arrived and seized the currency.

Evans, 30, of Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested for Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony.  He is being held on a $20,005.00 cash-only bond through Superior Court I.

Sparks was released from the scene with several warnings for the traffic violations.

DHE is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program/initiative, designed to disrupt the flow of drugs and weapons moving domestically.  DHE is funded by federal monies and administered by Indiana HIDTA, and allows additional deputies to work criminal interdiction enforcement.

Assisting in the case was Deputy Scott Lanoue

Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations.  Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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