NOPD Sixth District Task Force officers pulled over a driver for a busted tail-light and wound up finding two fully-loaded guns and drugs in his car.
At first, when the driver, 20-year-old Jawan Fortia- stopped near the corner of Thalia and Magnolia Streets last night, he tried to get away from officers, but the officers managed to stop him. They walked with him back toward his car, and noticed the two passengers- 20-year-old Shawn Gracin and a 16-year-old male, behaving suspiciously. The officers also picked up on the smell of marijuana. They asked both men to get out of the car since they had probable cause to search it for drugs. Officers spotted marijuana in plain view, as well as a fully-loaded handgun on the back floorboard and another handgun under the front passenger seat. Through investigation, the officers found that both guns had been stolen from the New Orleans area- one from a home on St. Charles Avenue, the other from a car in the St. Roch neighborhood. They also found that Fortia had no driver’s license or insurance, so his car was subsequently confiscated.
Fortia, Gracin and the 16-year-old were all charged with Carrying Illegal Firearms While in Possession of Dangerous Substance, Possession of Stolen Firearms and narcotics violations.
Fortia’s record shows he has been arrested before for Criminal Trespass and that he has municipal attachments and a warrant.
Gracin was also charged with Felon with a Firearm and parole violation. Currently he is on parole until January 2015 for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. In June 2011, he was placed on probation until January 2012 for Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm. Gracin’s previous arrests include Possession of Stolen Property, Criminal Trespass, Disturbing the Peace, Possession of Stolen Property over $500, Theft over $500, Simple Battery, warrants and municipal attachments.
“It’s a great thing that these Sixth District Officers stopped to investigate a busted tail light they spotted. This routine traffic stop was initiated to help prevent other motorists from plowing right into the back of this car…it was about safety. But this stop amounted to much more than preventing a wreck It got illegal guns and narcotics off the street”, said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
“These officers handled this incident skillfully, which resulted in 3 potentially dangerous suspects getting arrested, and no one in this Central City neighborhood being harmed.”
# # #
Contact: Remi Braden