Traffic stop nets drugs and weapons

Published 8:29 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

At 3:20 a.m. on Dec. 27, a Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sergeant made a traffic stop on Louisiana Highway 21 south of Bogalusa. The vehicle contained three young males. The sergeant called for backup, and a patrol deputy quickly responded to the scene.

As the patrol deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a clear plastic bag in the lap of the front seat passenger. The bag contained a green leafy substance, which was believed to be marijuana. The passenger, identified as Justin Oneal Bickham, 19, a resident of Welch Drive in Bogalusa, was removed from the vehicle and searched. A large sum of cash was discovered in his jacket pocket.

The sergeant noticed the rear seat passenger place cash into the space under the rear seat.

The passenger, identified as Qa’Tarrel Markell Walker, 18, a resident of Avenue G in Bogalusa, was removed from the vehicle and searched. The rear seat area of the vehicle was searched also, and officers recovered cash and a knit cap that contained marijuana, a set of scales and a loaded Ruger .380 semi-automatic pistol.

The driver, a juvenile, was removed from the vehicle and searched. His name is withheld because of his age.

After all occupants were removed, the vehicle was searched, and a loaded Ruger .357 Magnum Blackhawk revolver was discovered under the middle of the front seat.

Bickham and Walker were arrested and placed in the Washington Parish Jail. The juvenile was released to the custody of his mother.

Bickham is charged with second offense felony possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with a weapon present. He is being held in jail, with his bond set at $15,000.

Walker is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance with a weapon present and possession with intent to distribute Schedule I drugs. He is being held in jail with his bond set at $15,000.

“This was a potentially dangerous situation for our officers,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “It was 3:20 a.m. and very dark on the side of the highway. Unknown to the officers, there were two loaded weapons inside the vehicle. This could quickly have developed into a bad situation for the officers.”

Seal said his officers are always in danger.

“This is a reminder that our patrol deputies often face dangerous situations,” Seal added. “When they make a traffic stop, especially at night, they don’t know who is in the vehicle or what their intentions might be. It could be a citizen on the way to work, a wanted criminal or an escapee. They never know, therefore they must always use caution in such situations. I commend our deputies for their excellent work in this matter and am grateful that the incident turned out well. Our deputies went home to their families, and the criminals went to jail. That is a good ending.”