SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, fake names, and stolen checks—Spring Hill Police officers have a lot to untangle after a traffic stop on a group of people in a car with a dark tinted license plate cover.
It all began on August 22nd at the Regions Bank on Wall Street in Spring Hill. That’s where Officer Patrick Ryan watched the driver of the blue Nissan go inside the bank.
📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts →
When the driver returned, Ryan pulled the car over and began his investigation.
According to police, two of the four people gave officers fake names. One of the women was determined to have warrants out of Marshall County. And the driver, Edward Johnson, 36, was driving on a revoked license.
OFFICER: What were you all doing at Regions Bank?
JOHNSON: Cash a check.
OFFICER: Cash a check? Was it your check?
Johnson nods affirmatively.
That’s when the officer took a photo of Johnson and sent it to his fellow officer who was interviewing bank personnel about the 36-year-old Mt. Pleasant man’s bank visit.
Police asked for permission to search the car. At first, Johnson told officers the car is not his and he cannot verify what might be in it.
After a K-9 searched the area, it reportedly detects the odor of narcotics. That’s when all four passengers are pulled from the vehicle.
The officers found multiple needles, pot, pipes, paraphernalia, and 13.76 grams of meth. The officer then spoke to Johnson again.
OFFICER: There’s a metal container in there with your birth certificate with some checks with your name on it.
JOHNSON: It’s got meth in it?
OFFICER: It’s got meth in it. All in the same container man, so I am not buying it.
JOHNSON: Methamphetamine where my birth certificate is?
OFFICER: Yep, there’s little rocks in there. If you want to keep lying to me that’s fine.
Police also found 19 checks that they say have been stolen from area mailboxes.
According to investigators, the 36-year-old Mt. Pleasant man’s name is on many of the stolen checks. One of the checks in the car belongs to a man who sold a large item. The check is for $64,000.
Lt. Justin Whitwell says Johnson is accused of stealing checks out of area mailboxes and altering them to show his name. “That is exactly what they were doing, stealing checks out of mailboxes, some were large denominations. They would not be able to cash them. But they were washing names off them, and they did a horrible job at that.”
Police say Johnson tried to cash at least one check in the amount of $278, but the bank refused to accept it.
Whitwell says the entire bust began with proactive police work by an officer who was quick thinking. “That is what it was, the officer observed simple traffic offense, followed through, instead of making an initial traffic stop, he followed these people into Regions Bank.”
When questioned later, the driver told police, that someone gave him the stolen checks, told him to put his name on them and cash them as part of a drug transaction.