Crime

Driver says parolee passenger threw pistol, drugs at his feet in traffic stop

James Charles Christopher Eustice
James Charles Christopher Eustice

A parolee who allegedly threw a pistol and narcotics at his driver’s feet during a traffic stop is being held for federal marshals, a court document said.

The driver, Steven Ray Stone, 51, told Gulfport police he didn’t know his passenger, James Eustice, 38, had a pistol or drugs, but said he was aware of a shotgun and had asked Eustice to not put it in his vehicle, a federal firearms agent said in an affidavit.

Police arrested both men on state charges July 28, and Eustice may now face federal charges.

The traffic stop was on 19th Avenue. Items reportedly seized from the vehicle included meth, oxycodone and cash.

Eustice denied knowing anything about the pistol or drugs, the affidavit said. He told police he had used the shotgun the night before to shoot at an animal, and later said he had arranged to sell the shotgun to one of Stone’s relatives.

Police arrested Eustice and Stone on charges of possession with intent to distribute meth, possession of oxycodone and two counts each of felon in possession of a firearm. Oxycodone is a narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Eustice, of Gulfport, was on probation for possession of pseudoephedrine from a 2008 arrest. Pseudoephedrine, once sold over the counter as a nasal decongestant, is one of the key ingredients in meth. Mississippi lawmakers banned the sale of pseudoephedrine without a prescription in 2010 as meth-making was on the rise.

Stone is held at the Harrison County jail on a $70,000 bond.

A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives signed a criminal complaint against Eustice on Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo ordered a grand jury review Thursday.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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