While patrolling west bound on Scenic Gulf Drive on March 11, Deputy Tommy Thillet noticed a maroon GMC Terrain east bound where the driver was not wearing his safety belt. A female passenger was also seen by Deputy Thillet sitting on a male passenger's lap in the single person front passenger seat. A traffic stop was conducted and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was detected coming from the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was asked for his license, registration and insurance. Deputy Thillet asked if anyone in the vehicle was over the legal drinking age of 21 and all the occupants advised they were under 21 years of age. Upon observing the occupants of the vehicle, Deputy Thillet noticed they were attempting to conceal bottles of alcohol. At that time, he asked all of them to exit the vehicle. Taylor Medeiros, 19, Olivia Hosey, 19, both of Mobile, AL and Tristan Campbell, 18, of Jackson, MS, were placed under arrest for minor in possession of alcohol.
The driver, John Robert Franklin, 19, of Mobile, AL, gave consent to Deputy Thillet to search a bag that was found in the vehicle. During the search a set of throwing knives, a digital scale, a small empty plastic baggy and a small bag containing a white powdery substance (that tested positive for cocaine) that was tied in a knot at the top was found. Franklin was advised of his Constitutional Rights, agreed to speak with law enforcement and upon questioning he advised the bag was his. While speaking with deputies, Franklin admitted to purchasing $150.00 worth of cocaine while in town for spring break. He also told deputies that there was a container underneath the front seat that contained a marijuana pipe and grinder. A black glass smoking device with what appeared to be burnt marijuana residue, a cigar cutter, along with numerous pills were also found in the bag.
Franklin was placed under arrest and charged with cocaine possession, two counts of drug possession, four counts for possession of narcotic equipment and minor in possession of alcohol. All four were transported to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.