Both Charged with Three Misdemeanors and Four Felonies
By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – A traffic stop during the early morning hours of Sunday morning, Sept. 10 led to the arrest of two Houston area men on seven charges apiece.
Andrew Joe Atkinson, 22, and Brodrick Dashon Gaston, 21, were taken into custody and both were charged with three counts of burglarizing a vehicle, three counts of theft of a firearm and one count of felonious possession of a firearm after the vehicle they were traveling in was stopped for a defective brake light.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Crockett Police Sgt. Alfredo Fajardo initiated a traffic stop on a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer after he noticed the vehicles high mounted stop lamp was not working.
“I (Fajardo) initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, which did not immediately stop. Instead, the vehicle continued into the Xpress Truck Stop parking lot and eventually came to a stop at the fuel pumps,” the probable cause statement indicated.
Once the vehicle had come to a stop, Fajardo made contact with the two occupants of the SUV and identified the occupants as Atkinson and Gaston.
“While speaking with the two, I saw that Gaston had what appeared to be gang related tattoos on his hands. Also, I saw a Rock River Arms LAR-15 rifle in plain view in between the two in the second row floorboard. I could also see another rifle soft case on the back seat,” the probable cause document stated.
The two men were taken out of the vehicle and detained. While they were detained, Fajardo ran their identifying information through the dispatchers which indicated both Atkinson and Gaston were convicted felons.
“When asked about the firearms in the vehicle after being advised of their Miranda Warnings, both subjects denied ownership of the guns and Atkinson first stated that someone else had put them in the car. They were both uncooperative and were advised that they were under arrest,” according to the affidavit.
After their arrest, the affidavit indicated both were searched and the search revealed both suspects “… were found to have a window punch and broken pieces of glass in their pockets. Also Atkinson had a USPS shipping receipt in his pocket from a shipment from Arkansas to Missouri.”
A search of the vehicle uncovered a Marlin Model 389 .50 caliber dart rifle, a Taurus judge revolver and a green bag that contained darts for the rifle and items for animal vaccinations.
Because it was believed the firearms were possibly stolen from several auto burglaries, CPD lt. Lonnie Lum traveled to the Holiday Inn Express where he discovered three vehicles had broken windows.
The police officers were able to make contact with the owners of the vehicles and all confirmed the firearms were taken from their individual vehicles, along with the shipping receipt, the arrest report stated.
Atkinson and Gaston were transported to the Houston County Jail where they booked into custody on three counts of burglarizing a vehicle, three counts of theft of a firearm and one count of felonious possession of a firearm.
Felonious possession of a firearm is considered a third degree felony under Texas state law.
According to Section 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”
Theft of a firearm is considered a state jail felony which is punishable 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,” according to Section 12.35 of the Texas Penal Code.
The burglary of a vehicle is considered a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Atkinson and Gaston are held at the Houston County Jail on bonds totaling $69,000 apiece.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.