Running a stop sign leads to two drug arrests

A traffic stop for speeding and failing to obey a stop sign reportedly resulted in the driver and passenger being arrested on drug charges Sunday evening.

The driver, Yancy Cornell Koonce, 30, of Hot Springs, was arrested shortly before 11:30 p.m. on two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one punishable by up to 20 years in prison and the other with a sentence of up to six years. , and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.

The passenger, Taqueze Rafael Gordon, 24, also of Hot Springs, was arrested at the same time and charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, punishable by up to at six years old.

Both men were later released, Koonce on $6,000 bond and Gordon on $2,500 bond, and are scheduled to appear June 7 in Garland County District Court. According to court records, Koonce was convicted in 2017 of theft by receiving a firearm and sentenced to five years of supervised probation. Gordon faces a misdemeanor drug charge pending arraignment on Oct. 27 and was previously convicted of misdemeanor third-degree domestic battery on Feb. 9 and sentenced to one year of probation.

According to the probable cause affidavit, around 11:15 p.m. Sunday, Hot Springs Police Officer Joseph Reichard was on patrol when he allegedly saw a black Dodge Charger going through the stop sign at West St. Louis and Main streets. He followed him and noticed he was going 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, so he stopped him in the 300 block of Main.

He contacted the driver, Koonce, and explained to him why he had stopped him. Koonce reportedly said, “It’s bad for me.” Reichard allegedly noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and, when asked, Koonce allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana and handed the remains of a marijuana “cockroach” to Reichard.

The affidavit says Koonce’s admission gave probable cause to search the vehicle, so he and the passenger, Gordon, were removed. In the center console, an unopened bottle containing 589.4 grams, or more than 20 ounces, of promethazine hydrochloride, a Schedule V controlled substance, was found. Koonce later admitted that the bottle belonged to him.

Under the passenger seat, where Gordon was sitting, a plastic grocery bag was found that allegedly contained a bag of marijuana, approximately 235.6 grams, or more than 8 ounces. Since Gordon was sitting there and “had immediate access to the marijuana,” he was charged.

In addition to the felony and misdemeanor charges, Koonce also received written warnings for failure to stop, failure to signal, speeding and illegal auxiliary lights.


Taqueze Rafael Gordon (Submitted photo)