By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – A traffic stop on the night of Thursday, April 6 led to the arrest of two Crockett men on drug charges.

Demarcus Cortez Jackson, 24, and Michael Wayne McKnight, Jr., 23, were arrested after Crockett Police stopped the vehicle they were traveling in for a malfunctioning tail light.

According to a warrantless probable cause statement filed by Sgt. Alfredo Fajardo, the traffic stop occurred at approximately 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Sgt. Fajardo stated when he approached the vehicle he “… could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the open driver’s window. I also saw a bag with a usable amount of marijuana in plain view on the center console.”

Jackson, the driver of the vehicle, admitted to the being the owner of the marijuana. Both he and McKnight, the passenger in the vehicle, were detained, the probable cause statement indicated.

“During a probable cause vehicle search, I found another bag containing a usable amount of suspected marijuana under the seat that McKnight had been sitting in,” the report stated. “When asked about the bag, McKnight told me it was his.”

As Jackson and McKnight were being transported to the Houston County Jail on marijuana possession charges, the report indicated “… McKnight told me he was about to urinate on himself. I then warned McKnight that he would be strip searched prior to being allowed to urinate and told him of the felony consequences of taking contraband into the jail. McKnight then admitted that he had two ‘zips’ (an ounce of marijuana) in his pants.”

After Jackson and McKnight were released to the jail staff, the affidavit reported Fajardo returned to his patrol unit and searched the backseat area to see if either of the arrestees had attempted to hide anything during transport.

“During the search, I found a blue semitransparent zip lock back containing suspected cocaine behind the seat where McKnight had been sitting. I went back into the jail advised McKnight of his Miranda Warnings and he admitted that the contraband I had found was his, although j=he said it must have fallen out of his jeans,” the report stated.

The affidavit went on to state a review of the patrol unit’s video showed McKnight attempting to hide the cocaine after he had been warned by Fajardo about bringing contraband into the jail.

The suspected marijuana and cocaine were field tested and weighed. The amount of marijuana Jackson initially claimed weighed 0.04 ounces and he was charged with one count of possession of marijuana, less than two ounces, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

McKnight was charged with possession of controlled substance, less than one gram – a state jail felony; tampering or fabricating physical evidence – a third degree felony; and possession of marijuana, greater than four ounces – a state jail felony.

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.”

Section 12.35 of the Texas Penal Code states, “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 punishment for a Class B misdemeanor may include a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both such fine and confinement.

The total bond for McKnight was set at $15,000. It was posted and he was released pending trial.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.