License plate lights and smell of weed lead to illegal handgun, police say

An Allentown man is facing firearms and drug charges following an early Tuesday morning traffic stop in North Catasauqua, according to borough police in court records.

An officer on patrol around 1:40 a.m. noticed a car without properly functioning license plate lights on Second and Buttonwood Streets, court records show.

“During the traffic stop, a smell of marijuana came from inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” wrote officer Antonio Tramonte.

Three occupants told the officer that none of them had a medical marijuana card, and the officer was denied consent to search the car, police said.

Police later obtained a search warrant and found inside the car 54 anti-seizure pills, a container of a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, two weapon magazines loaded handguns, 18 rounds of 9mm rounds and a 9mm Ultra Star round-chamber handgun, a full magazine and an erased serial number, according to court records.

The handgun was within range of the front passenger, identified as 40-year-old Bryson Harris from the 300 block of North 14th Street in Allentown, court records show. He is prohibited from owning a firearm due to previous charges and did not have a license to carry a concealed firearm, police said.

Harris was arraigned before District Judge Alan Mege on felony charges of prohibited possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license and possession of a firearm with an altered manufacturer’s number, in plus the misdemeanor of drug possession (two counts) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Harris was sent to Northampton County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond and has a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for March 17 before District Judge Robert Hawke to determine if there is enough evidence to send the charges to a trial in county court.

Court records did not immediately list an attorney for Harris, or say anyone else was charged in the incident.

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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at [email protected].

Milton S. Rodgers