By Cody Thompson

Messenger Reporter

LATEXO – A Houston man and woman were arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety after multiple illicit drugs were found inside of their vehicle. 

Janee Santrice Morrow, 24, and Jesse Joie Bickham, 19, were charged with criminal negligence and possession of marijuana. Bickham also was charged with possession of a controlled substance penalty groups two and three.

DPS trooper Steven Prater was on patrol in Latexo when he noticed a blue 2012 Volkswagen Jetta traveling at 60 mph southbound on U.S. 287. The posted speed limit in the area is 50 mph, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Prater then activated his patrol unit’s overhead lights and conducted a traffic stop on the Jetta.

“As soon as I (Prater) stepped out of my patrol car, I could smell the odor of marijuana emitting from inside the vehicle,” the probable cause document said.

After arriving at the vehicle, Prater made contact with the driver (Bickham) and the passenger (Morrow).

Prater also noticed a young child in the backseat which Morrow claimed as hers. The child was not in a safety seat, the affidavit said.

Prater then asked Bickham and Morrow if there was any marijuana in the vehicle, the probable cause document said.

“(Morrow) stated that she and Bickham smoked all of the marijuana coming from Tyler,” the affidavit said. “Bickham also stated that they smoked all of the marijuana.”

Morrow and Bickham were then asked to step out of the vehicle while Prater conducted a search, according to the probable cause document.

Prater discovered a small amount of marijuana inside a cigar wrapper, that both suspects claimed belonged to Morrow, the affidavit said.

Further investigation revealed more illicit substances inside the vehicle.

“The rest of the vehicle was searched and several MDMA (ecstasy) pills were found in a container in the trunk of the vehicle,” the affidavit said. “Marijuana was found in a clear plastic baggy in the backseat of the vehicle.”

Bickham claimed ownership of the ecstasy and the marijuana, the probable cause document said.

Prater then placed Bickham in handcuffs and searched his person, the affidavit said.

“Bickham was searched and several small pills, believed to be Xanax, were found in his Bickham’s right sock,” the affidavit said.

Prater noticed a lump in Morrow’s pocket. Morrow removed a small orange pill bottle filled with Xanax, the probable cause document said.

“Both Bickham and Morrow stated the pills belonged to Bickham,” the affidavit said. “Morrow stated Bickham told her to hide the pills.”

Bickham was then placed in the back of a Crockett Police Department patrol unit and transported to the Houston County Jail.

Morrow and the child were transported to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office to wait for Child Protective Services officer Jayde Steer, the affidavit said.

After Steer arrived, the child was released and Morrow was taken to the Houston County Jail.

The criminal negligence and possession of a controlled substance penalty group three charges are both considered state jail felonies.

According to Section 12.35 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days. In addition to confinement, an individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”

The possession of a controlled substance penalty group two charge is considered a class A misdemeanor.

According to Section 12.21 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a class A misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $4,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or both such fine and confinement.”

The possession of marijuana charge is considered a class B misdemeanor.

According to Section 12.22 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a class B misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both such fine and confinement.”

Morrow’s bond was set at $5,000 for criminal negligence and $2,000 for the possession of marijuana charge.

Bickham’s bond was set at $5,000 for criminal negligence charge, $5,000 for possession of a controlled substance penalty group two, $4,000 for possession of a controlled substance penalty group three and $2,500 for possession of marijuana.

Morrow bonded out on Sunday, April 30. Bickham is currently still incarcerated in the Houston County Jail.

Cody Thompson may be reached via e-mail at cthompson@messenger-news.com.