PORTERDALE -- Four men have been charged with weapons violations following the discovery of a sawed-off shotgun during a traffic stop.
Arrested and charged were:
* Christopher Lewis Meriwether, 22, 4167 Newburgh Drive, Indianapolis, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal use of an article with an altered identification, possession of arms by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon, improper parking handicap;
* Brandon Mykel Macon, 19, 1119 Leslie Place, Stone Mountain, possession of marijuana less than an ounce, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal use of an article with an altered identification, carrying a concealed weapon;
* Antoine Jamal Mason, 20, 9157 Jefferson Village Drive, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal use of an article with an altered identification, carrying a concealed weapon.
* Clifton Lenard Coats, 18, 2112 Lockhaven Drive, Conyers, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal use of an article with altered identification, possession of marijuana less than an ounce.
According to a Porterdale Police Department incident report, an officer noticed a 2005 Chrysler 300 illegally parked in a handicapped parking space with loud music "'bumping' through the rear trunk" on Jan. 30 about 1 a.m.
"The only passenger inside the vehicle (Macon) was looking around the side window and out of the rear window of the car in what appeared to be a nervous manner," the report states.
The officer approached the passenger and noticed a second man standing inside the Shell Station on Broad Street who came out to meet the officer and identified himself as the driver (Meriwether). When asked why he'd parked in a handicapped space, he said he thought he could do that for a moment to run inside the store. Further, he told the officer he was driving his mother's car and he was just visiting from Indiana. Presently, two more men appeared who identified themselves as passengers in the vehicle, as well.
The officer found that Mason had an outstanding warrant and while confirming information on the warrant, another officer asked the men if they had any weapons or drugs inside the vehicle. They all denied having any guns or drugs and the driver denied permission to search the vehicle, saying the car wasn't his.
The K-9 officer was on the scene with his dog and did an "open air sniff" with the canine, which alerted to the presence of drugs at the rear passenger side of the vehicle.
Officers then put the dog inside the vehicle and he alerted again in the same area, although no drugs were discovered there and the officer's initial search of the four men failed to yield any drugs.
During the search of the vehicle, officers located two shotgun shells and a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip hidden behind the back seat of the vehicle. Also, the serial numbers on the gun had been filed off.
All four men were taken into custody and advised if they had any drugs on them, if they turned it over before going to jail, it would be a misdemeanor. If they waited until they got to jail and it was discovered there, it would be a felony. Macon and Coats stepped forward and admitted to having marijuana hidden on their person, according to the incident report.