BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Two people from Mississippi have been charged after officers said they found drugs and other paraphernalia in their vehicle during a routine traffic stop on I-79 in Harrison County.
On Sept. 28, officers with the Bridgeport Police Department were patrolling I-79 when they came across a blue Buick LeSabre with the expired registration, according to a criminal complaint.
Officers then made contact with the vehicle’s driver, who identified himself as Brock Pearson, but officers later identified him as Brian Knighten, 37, of Waynesboro, Mississippi, who told officers that they had just purchased the vehicle and were on the way to the DMV, officers said.
The passenger of the vehicle gave her name as Brittany Harmon but was later identified as Brittany Koch, 32, of Mississippi, and showed officers proof of insurance for the vehicle, according to the complaint.
When asked if there were any gun or narcotics in the vehicle, Koch and Knighten told officers that there were not; after learning that the suspects’ information was untrue, Koch “was very nervous” and “her hands were shaking,” officers said.
Koch then told officers that there was a firearm in her purse, but that she “did not want [Knighten] to know that she had it”; then Koch gave permission for officers to search the vehicle after handing over a purse containing a Smith & Wesson 9mm, according to the complaint.
After obtaining a written consent from Koch, officers searched her person and found something sticking out of her bra, which she claimed was a pen, but when she pulled it out it was a “black vial,” officers said.
Upon pulling out the black vial, Koch “threw a white substance into her mouth,” and officers placed her into custody; officers then removed Knighten from the vehicle and detained him, as well, according to the complaint.
During a search of the vehicle officers said they found “drug paraphernalia” and a set of scales in the glove compartment, and in the trunk of the vehicle officers found a gray suitcase which Koch claimed contained her life savings of $10,000, but she didn’t have the key.
While officers performed the search, Knighten “began to go into a seizure and EMS was notified,” but when EMS arrived on scene Knighten refused treatment, according to the complaint.
Koch was taken to UHC for medical clearance due to swallowing the white substance, which officers were later informed were Percocet pills that weren’t hers, and both Koch and Knighten were transported for processing, officers said.
Upon receiving a search warrant for the Buick, officers found “paraphernalia” in the cab, as well as a black safe in the trunk which contained $1,420 in U.S. currency, three bags of a crystal-like substance, a Smith & Wesson 40 Shield firearm with two magazines, a “large amount” of bags, rubber bands and a set of scales.
Koch and Knighten have been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit a felony. They are being held in North Central Regional Jail on $20,000 bond.