Metro police believe an early Monday morning traffic stop may have prevented a much more serious situation.
When Officer Brandon Whittaker spotted a car leaving Silverado’s Saloon and Dance Hall at 1204 Murfreesboro Pike around 3 a.m. Monday and stopped it nearby for excessive window tinting, he couldn’t have immediately known of the amount of firepower and contraband that was inside.
A subsequent search of the vehicle allegedly turned up an AK-47 rifle, a stolen .40-caliber Glock handgun, a .357-caliber revolver, about 230 grams of marijuana, about 1 gram of crack cocaine, other drug paraphernalia, $880 in real U.S. currency and another $500 in counterfeit U.S. currency.
Police arrested the five occupants inside the vehicle: Brian Anthony Leggs, 25, of Oakwood Avenue; Arista Rochelle Lewis, 21, of Wynnhaven Court; Donald Lee Peoples, 18, of Heiman Street; Steven Deshawn Kimbro, 22, of Rose Hall; and Christopher C. Bridges, 19, Chesapeake Drive. Each was charged with drug and gun possession as well as theft.
As Whittaker approached the car, he spotted one of the individuals holding the assault rifle, said police spokesman Don Aaron.
Backup officers arrived and helped take the five individuals into custody before a search of the vehicle allegedly turned up a box in the backseat containing 229.4 grams of marijuana, 1.2 grams of cocaine, a digital scale and some plastic baggies.
Police also charged Kimbro with evidence tampering and criminal simulation after he allegedly tried to hide five counterfeit $100 bills under the backseat of a police cruiser while he was in custody.
“None of the five would detail what they were doing,” Aaron said. “The female said she’d been called to pick them up.”
Metro police are working to determine any potential gang affiliations with the individuals, but Aaron said the officers involved are certain they stopped a more serious crime from taking place.
“With that much dope and that significant firepower in that car, there’s no doubt that they were up to no good," he said.