Stolen handgun from Gwinnett County recovered in Stephens County

A stolen firearm from Gwinnett County was recovered recently in Stephens County.

According to Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, on September 6, a traffic stop was initiated on a speeding vehicle on the Highway 17 Bypass near the Habersham County line.

Shirley said the vehicle was traveling 93 mph in a 65-mph zone.

Upon approaching the vehicle, the deputy could smell a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

According to the report, the deputy noted that he had noticed a passenger in the backseat who was acting suspicious, as if they were trying to conceal something.

Shirley says that after a back-up deputy arrived, a loaded Ruger SR22 handgun and marijuana was recovered from the rear passenger area of the vehicle.

A check of the firearm serial number through GCIC revealed the semi-automatic handgun had been reported stolen out of Gwinnett County.

The rear passenger, identified as 23-year-old Marquel Smith, of Jonesboro, was arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of marijuana.

Smith was released from the Stephens County Jail, on September 8, after posting a $10,000 bond.

Shirley said the driver of the vehicle was released from the scene with a super speeder citation for traveling 28 miles over the speed limit.

The Gwinnett County Police were notified and are investigating how Smith came to possess the stolen handgun.