By Ray King

A traffic stop by a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Wednesday resulted in the arrest of a man on drug related charges.

Ponce Cole, 34, was taken into custody after Sgt. Courtney Kelly stopped the vehicle Cole was driving and noticed the odor of suspected marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

During a court hearing Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Beth Carson said Tri-County Drug Task Force Investigators Joseph O’Neal and Sgt. Fred Green responded to assist Kelly and O’Neal also reported the odor of marijuana.

A female was in the vehicle with Cole and a records check through the Arkansas Crime Information Center showed that a Cole had been ordered to have no contact with the female. They were both asked to step out of the vehicle and investigators noticed money sticking out of the woman’s pocket.

Carson said during a search of the vehicle, investigators found a blue duffle bag containing a glass jar with a green leafy substance suspected of being marijuana, a bag with 21 rectangle pills and 8 multi-color round pills. The bag also contained a nine-millimeter handgun. The pills were determined to be Ecstasy an d Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance and they will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for analysis.

Cole and the female were taken to the sheriff’s office to be questioned and the female said the gun inside the duffle bag belonged to her and said she did not know anything about the drugs. When Cole was interviewed, he said the jar and the suspected drugs belonged to him and said he had given the money, $579, to the female when Kelly walked up to the vehicle.

Carson said court records showed that Cole was placed on probation stemming from a 2016 conviction for residential burglary and theft of property and that probation was restarted.

Lincoln County District Judge Phillip Green, who was sitting in for Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $10,000 bond for Cole Friday after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge him with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver. The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Cole.