Monday, March 30, 2020

Traffic Stop Sends Two to Jail

A man from Vilonia, Ark., was arrested after a March 9 traffic stop turned up drug paraphernalia and a wanted suspect.

Thomas William Cleland Jr., 25, was charged with harboring a fugitive from justice, a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. Cleland was also hit with two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, as well as misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle with an expired/improper tag.

According to the arrest report, a Sallisaw police officer patrolling in the area of South Kerr Boulevard and Mentzer Street saw a white SUV make an improper lane change. The officer noticed the vehicle’s paper tag was expired and initiated a traffic stop.

The driver, Cleland, handed the officer his identification, but his passenger said he did not have ID on him and gave his name as “Dwight Baldandoe.” A check with dispatch did not turn up anything under that name. Cleland told officers that as far as he knew, “Dwight” was his passenger’s name.

The officer ordered “Dwight” out of the vehicle, but when he was being patted down, the man tried to hide something around his waistband. “Dwight” admitted to having a little marijuana on him. Officers then found a wallet on the passenger’s seat with the name Kelton Chandler.

Chandler had an outstanding felony warrant in Sequoyah County and was subsequently arrested. Officers then patted down Cleland, who admitted to having “the bad stuff,” methamphetamine, in his pockets. Officers discovered a clear plastic bag containing two cut straws, a glass smoking device with a burned residue, a clear plastic bag with a white, crystalline substance inside weighing 3.2 grams (also known as an 8-ball), a small, heat-sealed bag that also had the white substance inside it and another plastic bag containing a green, leafy substance.

Chandler later told police that Cleland knew what his real name was and that they had known each other for at least eight years.

The men were transported to the Sallisaw City Jail.

Cleland was released on $2,500 bond.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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