By Joe Johnson
A convicted gang member who was paroled four months ago from a conviction for a 2016 shooting incident was arrested this week after drugs and a gun were found in a car in which he was a passenger, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.
An officer stopped the car at about 11:50 p.m. Thursday in the area of Moreland Avenue and North Peter Street because the driver was failing to maintain his lane, the report states.
While speaking to the driver the officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and the driver and one of his passengers admitted to having smoked weed earlier and the driver said that there might still be a roach in the car, according to the police report.
When backup units arrived, officers conducted a search of the car, and in the trunk they found a book bag that contained heroin in a mason jar, a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun with a round in its chamber, small plastic bags that are typically used for packaging drugs for resale, a pill bottle containing amphetamine, and bags of synthetic marijuana, according to the report.
Several digital scales and clothing were found in another bag in the trunk, the report noted.
One of the passengers reportedly told officers that one and possibly both of the bags belonged to the other passenger, 22-year-old Taveon Rashawn Stevens of Burkland Lane, the gang member who was paroled from prison this year.
Stevens was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute Schedule I and II controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, trafficking in illegal drugs, and violating parole.
Stevens in 2017 was convicted of criminal street gang activity for his role the year before in shootout at Rolling Ridge Apartments.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, on April 10, 2016, a group of as many as eight armed, suspected members of the Bloods street gang arrived at Rolling Ridge in several vehicles, and one of the suspects exited his vehicle, ran up to someone and pointed a gun at their head, at which time “everybody just started shooting.
Bystanders reportedly ran for cover, and no one was injured, though several apartments were struck by gunfire, police said.
Three suspects, including Stevens, were identified by police and they were subsequently arrested by the Athens-Clarke County police Gang Suppression Unit.
All three were charged with reckless conduct, illegal discharge of a firearm, and violating the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act, according to Clarke County Superior Court records.
They were each subsequently indicted on 14 counts of violating the street gang statute.
On Sept. 20, 2017, two days after a jury was selected for his trial, Stevens entered into a negotiated agreement with the DA’s office in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the street gang statute and was sentenced to four years in prison and 16 years on probation.
He was paroled on Jan. 7 of this year, six months shy of completing the incarceration portion of his sentence.
On Saturday Stevens was being held at the county jail without bail being set, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office without bond.