THOMASVILLE — A convicted felon driving a vehicle with no exterior mirrors is charged with several felony drug and firearm offenses.
Early Labor Day afternoon on Cone Road, a Thomas County Sheriff's Office deputy pulled over a Nissan Altima that had no side-view mirrors.
When the officer approached the car, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana, said Louis Schofill, Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division commander.
Another deputy arrived to help search for the marijuana, which was found in the center console and under the radio.
"There was also a bag of unidentified white powder suspected of being cocaine and a bag of three pills suspected of being ecstasy," the commander said.
Officers found a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun under the driver's seat. The owner of the firearm has not been determined. Schofill said the sheriff's office is waiting for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to complete a trace on the weapon.
Seized contraband was wrapped for sale, he added.
The driver of the Nissan, James Lamar Hayes, 22, 602 Westover St., is charged with cocaine possession, ecstasy possession with intent to distribute, marijuana possession with intent to distribute, firearm use by convicted felon during the commission of a crime, driving without drivers license on person and defective equipment.
Hayes was convicted of burglary in 2017.
Schofill said deputies are trained to determine if other offenses might be involved in a traffic stop.
The side-view mirror offense probably would have resulted in a warning had the strong odor of marijuana not wafted from the car, he added.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820