Special to Iredell Free News

Three juveniles face a variety of charges after Statesville police officers found a firearm and marijuana in a vehicle during a traffic stop.

Officers assigned to the Statesville Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit conducted a routine stop for a traffic violation on Salisbury Highway on Thursday, November 16. 

After approaching the vehicle, the officer observed a rear passenger making a suspicious movement and leaning out of sight, police said. During the ensuing conversation, officers learned that none of the occupants had identification, and they could not provide information about the vehicle’s ownership, according to an SPD news release.

Additional officers were called to the scene, and the rear passenger who made the suspicious movement was asked to exit the vehicle, police said. After opening the door, an officer observed the handle of a handgun protruding from under the driver’s seat, police said. The individual was detained, and the loaded firearm was secured by the officers.

While searching the vehicle, officers found 245 grams of marijuana packaged for sale, police said. The officers also visited the registered owner’s home and learned that the vehicle had been stolen earlier in the day, according to the news release.

All three occupants of the vehicle were determined to be juveniles, prompting the officers to contact their parents for immediate pickup. Juvenile petitions will be pursued through the Department of Juvenile Justice.

According to the SPD, two of the juveniles will be charged with Larceny of a Motor Vehicle and Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle.

Police said the third juvenile will be charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Possession of a Handgun by a Minor, Felony Possession of Marijuana, Possession with Intent to Sell/Deliver Marijuana, Maintaining a Vehicle for Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia, and Resist, Obstruct, Delay an officer.