What started out as being pulled over for driving without headlights turned into the arrest of a driver and his two occupants. The New Jersey officer who pulled the men over reportedly found more than he initially bargained for during the routine stop. The three have been arrested for drug charges and other crimes related to a gun found in the vehicle.

The stop occurred early evening along a New Jersey roadway. While the officer was speaking with the driver, he reportedly smelled marijuana in the car. Inside the car, authorities claim to have found marijuana, a knife and a gun. The marijuana is described as being packaged for sale.

According to reports, neither the driver nor the other two occupants would claim ownership of the knife, gun or the drugs found in the car. Authorities did not provide any information as to how the officer came to find the drugs and the weapons in the car. All three of the men were detained and charged with various crimes, including possession with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a gun, drug paraphernalia charges and other charges. The driver also faces a charge for failure to use headlights.

While none of the men admitted to owning the gun or drugs, they all may face a heavy penalty if found guilty of the drug charges or gun charge against them. That heavy penalty could include jail time for the New Jersey men. In a case such as this, one or more of the occupants may not have known the items were in the car to begin with. While unclear in this particular case, exactly how an officer came to find the items may also affect the outcome of a criminal case against occupants of a vehicle. Issues such as these may become important in any defense that the men might choose to raise going forward.

Source: nj.com, “Gun, knife, pot found in car, Chester Township cops say,” Brendan Kuty, Jan. 31, 2013