Drug arrest made after traffic stop

A man was arrested on an allegation of possession of a controlled substance after a traffic stop on Wednesday night.

James Gardner, 54, has a criminal history dating back to 1978, including charges of murder, sexual assault and theft of property, Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Pugh said at a probable cause hearing on Friday. He was stopped at 18th Avenue near Cherry Street.

“Mr. Gardner threw a plastic bag onto his car’s floorboard containing a substance,” Pugh said. Asked by police about the identity of the substance, “Mr. Gardner said, ‘I don’t know what it is but it might be crack.’

“The off-white substance tested positive for cocaine,” Pugh said.

Police also allegedly found an open can of beer in his vehicle and Gardner was also allegedly driving without vehicle insurance.

Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled that prosecutors have probable cause to charge Gardner and set a bond of $25,000.