Traffic stop leads to drug and weapons arrest

A traffic stop by Pine Bluff police on a vehicle that allegedly spun its tires after accelerating from a stop sign ended in the arrest of the driver on drug and weapons charges.

Michael Groves, 50, allegedly had a small package containing suspected methamphetamine concealed in a cigarette package, and also allegedly had two weapons in the back of his truck when it was pulled over, Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Pugh said during a court hearing for Groves on Monday.

According to a probable cause affidavit from Vice and Narcotics Detective Michael Battles of the Pine Bluff Police Department, two officers were sitting at West 13th Avenue and Oakwood Road at about noon Saturday when they saw a blue Ford truck turn west onto West 13th Avenue and the driver accelerated after making the turn, causing the tires to spin.

Pugh said the officers stopped the truck at West 13th Avenue and Pear Street and when one of the officers approached the truck, the driver, later identified as Groves, said he was having a heart attack.

An ambulance was called and after Groves initially refused to get out of the vehicle, he did and grabbed a package of cigarettes but was told by one of the officers he didn’t need the cigarettes if he was going to the hospital. Before Groves was taken to the hospital, police said they located a glass tube commonly used to smoke methamphetamine in Groves’ pocket.

Battles said in the affidavit that Groves gave police two phone numbers to call for someone to come pick up the truck but no one answered at either number and a wrecker was called.

Pugh said that when police conducted an inventory of the truck before the wrecker arrived, one of them picked up the cigarette pack and several cigarettes fell out. When the officer attempted to put the cigarettes back into the package, the officers reported seeing a plastic bag containing suspected methamphetamine inside the package.

A rifle and shotgun were found in the back of the vehicle, Pugh said, adding that Groves had no prior convictions or pending charges.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $10,000 bond for Groves after ruling that prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.

The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Groves.