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Covington man arrested on drug, gun charges after traffic stop
Johnathan Patrick Hansen

COVINGTON, Ga. – Police arrested a Covington man on drug and gun charges after a traffic stop late last week.

According to a Covington Police Department incident report, Lt. Chris Smith was stopped in the parking lot in front of Ingles at the Covington Corners Shopping Center shortly before 10:30 p.m. Feb. 8 when he heard a vehicle accelerating.  Smith looked in his rearview mirror and saw the vehicle approaching the rear of his patrol car at a high rate of speed.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as 23-year-old Johnathan Hansen, reportedly swerved around Smith’s car and continued accelerating through the parking lot until he stopped with the front of his 2004 Dodge Ram partially in Turner Lake Road. Hansen then made a left turn onto Turner Lake, partially crossing over the center line before making a right turn onto Highway 278. Smith followed the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop on West Street near Herring Street. 

According to the report, when Smith approached the vehicle and asked for his driver’s license, Hansen replied that he did not have it on him. When Smith asked Hansen why he was driving so erratically, he reportedly replied that he had gone to purchase alcohol and had forgotten his wallet.

While he was standing at the window, Smith reportedly noticed a strong smell of burnt marijuana coming from inside the truck and Officer Rory Barber, who had arrived at the scene, observed a marijuana grinder in plain view on the dash.  Due to the strong odor of marijuana, Smith asked Hansen to step out of the vehicle.

According to the report, when asked where the marijuana was in the vehicle, Hansen told Smith there was a "blunt" inside the truck.  Hansen also reportedly said he was carrying a firearm and Smith removed a completely concealed, loaded Taurus 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber from Hansen’s waistband.

After securing the weapon, Smith asked Hansen if he had any marijuana on him and Hansen replied that he did not and gave police permission to search him. While he was searching Hansen, Smith reportedly located and removed a plastic bag containing a white, powdery substance from the watch pocket of his jeans. According to the report, when Smith asked what the substance was, Hansen replied that it was cocaine that he forgot he had.

After placing Hansen in custody, Smith and Barber searched the pick-up and found hand-rolled cigar containing suspected marijuana along with a small roach containing suspected marijuana. Police also found a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun behind the driver’s seat.

Hansen was transported to the Newton County Jail charged with possession of cocaine, possession of less than an ounce marijuana carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.