ROGERSVILLE — A traffic stop for what started out to be a minor tag lighting infraction turned into multiple arrests on drug and other charges early Tuesday morning.
On July 16, 2019, Hawkins Co. Deputy Hunter Clay Jones was on Hwy. 66 about 5:25 a.m., when he noticed a white 2002 Saturn headed north without proper lighting on the tag.
A check of the license plate through the NCIC system revealed the tag to be registered to a green GMC.
Deputy Jones conducted a traffic stop on Sneedville Pike, and spoke to the driver, Ryan Stroop, 21, of Surgoinsville, and asked if he had a driver’s license. Stroop handed the officer a Tennessee “ID Only” card, a check of which revealed that it had been revoked for a 2014 DUI charge in Sullivan County.
Stroop also had a prior ‘driving while license revoked’ charge against him in 2015 out of Sullivan County, Jones noted in his report.
“Upon making contact with Mr. Stroop, I smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” the report states. “I asked Mr. Stroop if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and he replied with, ‘not that I know of’.”
During a ‘probable cause’ search of the Saturn, however, Jones located two hypodermic needles in the floor of the driver’s side, as well as a “large needle” in the console.
A check through the NCIC showed that Stroop has an active warrant against him out of Scott County, Virginia, with extradition requested from surrounding states.
At that time, Stroop was placed under arrest. While he was being booked into the jail, additional charges were added after he told an officer that he did not have anything unlawful on his person prior to being taken inside the facility. Inside, jail officers located a bag of a white substance believed to be methamphetamine in Stroop’s sock.
In the end, Stroop was charged with nine offenses:
• Improper display of registration;
• Driving on revoked driver license (second);
• Possession of Schedule II substance;
• Driving while in possession of Methamphetamine;
• Introduction into a penal facility;
• Possession of drug paraphernalia;
• Fugitive from justice;
• Misuse of registration; and, on a second, later warrant,
• Violation of probation.
Three passengers in the vehicle were each charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia:
• Ethan Shane Murrell, 27, of Eidson, who was a passenger in the right rear seat of the vehicle.
During a ‘probable cause’ search of the vehicle, Deputy Jones located “within arms reach” of Murrell, in the floor, a glass pipe with white residue believed to be Methamphetamine.
• Timothy Shane Hudgens, 23, of Rogersville, who was a passenger in the right front seat of the vehicle.
During a ‘probable cause’ search of the vehicle, Deputy Jones located “within arms reach” of Hudgens a pink bag containing seven hypodermic needles.
“Four of the needles had residue of an unknown substance inside,” Jones wrote in his report. “Also located on the floor was another four hypodermic needles.”
In addition to the drug-related charge, Hudgens was later arrested and charged with three counts of violation of probation out of Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.
• Rochelle Aimee Lorah, 30, of Rogersville, who was a passenger in the left rear passenger seat of the vehicle.
During a ‘probable cause’ search of the vehicle, Deputy Jones located a red container with two hypodermic syringes and a straw inside.
“Ms. Lorah stated the red container belonged to her,” the report notes.
Also located inside the vehicle was a purple bag that Lorah was reportedly sitting on.
“During the search of the bag, I located a metal container with three methamphetamine pipes, a set of baggies, a scale, and approximately .03 grams of a white crystal substance believed to be Methamphetamine,” Jones wrote.
Lorah was also charged under a separate warrant with Failure to Appear on an unrelated charge out of Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.