Drug arrests made Sunday by police, troopers Sunday

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

July 9, 2007 - State troopers and city police each made two arrests each Sunday following interstate traffic stops within 10 hours of each other. The stops were unrelated and netted 40 pounds of marijuana, more than 2 pounds of methamphetamine, a small quantity of cocaine, some Xanax pills and at least two firearms.

Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers Joseph Hogue and David Reynolds, assisted by Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Buddy Williams and canine Atos, made the larger of the two busts at 11:15 p.m. Sunday night. 

Hogue stopped a green Mercury 4-door vehicle around that time for speeding; Reynolds assisted. The driver was identified as Gail Evans Pina, 60, of Dallas and the passenger as Rodolfo Nicklas Pina, 24, also of Dallas.

During the stop, the trooper noted the woman didn’t have insurance for the car, which she said she had borrowed from a friend so she could go see a sick friend in Arkansas. She was noted to be very nervous while speaking with troopers. The passenger, told troopers the car was his mothers, then learned the driver had borrowed it from a man to driver to Arkansas.

Noting a marijuana odor coming from the car coupled with the driver’s behavior and the pair’s conflicting stories regarding the car, troopers asked for permission to search the car. When Gail Pina refused consent, the troopers contacted SSPD Lt. Buddy Williams and asked him to bring his partner, canine Atos, to the location to do a sniff search. Atos alerted on the car for contraband, giving the officer probable cause to search the vehicle. They found approximately 40 pounds of marijuana, 2 pounds of methamphetamine and a loaded .22-caliber pistol in the car.

Both Gail Evans Pina and Rodolfo Nickalas Pina were arrested for possession of more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana and possession of more than 400 grams of methamphetamine. Gail Evans Pina was also charted with unlawful carrying of a weapon. Rodolfo Pina was also noted to have had Xanax pills in his right shoe. Both remained in jail early Monday morning.

Sulphur Springs Police Sgt. Jason Ricketson, assisted by patrol officer Jason Ames, was credited with the other drug arrest. They took an Ozark, Mo., pair in custody early Monday morning for drugs and weapons charges following an interstate traffic stop.

Ricketson, assisted Ames, stopped a gray Dodge Intrepid with Arkansas license plates at 2:24 a.m. Sunday at the 11 mile marker on Interstate 30 west for a traffic violation. The driver was identified as Stephani Deann Lewis, 22, and the passenger as George Allen Schaeffer, 35. 

�� � During the course of the stop, the officers found 20 grams of cocaine and 45 grams of methamphetamine in their possession, along with a handgun. Both Lewis and Schaeffer were arrested for possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony offense, and for felon in possession of a firearm, a third-degree felony offense, according to police reports.

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