Convicted felon arrested after gun found under vehicle seat

A traffic stop by police vice and narcotics officers Wednesday resulted in the arrest of a man who is currently on parole after officers allegedly found a gun under the seat of the vehicle the man was driving.

Steven Nelson Varnes, 36, who was listed as a parole absconder, also had active warrants from Johnson and Pulaski counties, Deputy Prosecutor Jill Reed said during a court hearing Friday for Varnes.

Detective Richard McCorvy said in a probable cause affidavit that investigators were conducting surveillance on a house in the Dollarway area after receiving information that methamphetamine was being sold from the house when they saw a vehicle driven by Varnes leave the residence.

According to the affidavit, the window tint on the vehicle was too dark and they lost sight of the vehicle, but it was stopped by Detective Bret Ward a few minutes later.

Reed said Varnes was arrested after a records check indicated he was wanted by the Arkansas Department of Corrections and a search of the vehicle after arrest uncovered a loaded handgun with the serial number scratched off.

Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney set a $25,000 bond for Varnes after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a defaced firearm.

Even though a bond was set, Varnes will not be able to post it because of the warrant from the department of corrections and will be held to determine if he should be sent back to prison to complete the remainder of his sentence.