Drugs, gun found in backpack, police say

A Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy working off-duty security at an apartment complex Monday became suspicious about a man carrying a child’s backpack and when the deputy took the backpack, he found 3.3 ounces of marijuana and a loaded gun in it.

The man carrying the backpack, Tyler Benson, 22, ran from the deputy and later came to the sheriff’s department where he was taken into custody.

During a court hearing Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Jill Reed said Lt. Randy Dolphin was working at St. John Apartments when he saw Benson trying to leave the complex while carrying a child’s backpack without a child.

Tri-County Drug Task Force Sgt. Yohance Brunson reported that Dolphin asked Benson for identification and Benson reportedly produced a driver’s license with his name and an address at a house on the west side of the city.

Reed said Dolphin asked Benson what was in the backpack and when Benson reached into his pants pocket, Dolphin grabbed the back pack and Benson took off running.

Brunson reported that when Dolphin opened the backpack, he saw two plastic bags containing suspected marijuana, a set of digital scales and a loaded .45-caliber pistol. The substance field tested positive for marijuana, Brunson said.

Deputies went to the address listed on Benson’s drivers license and talked to a relative, who said Benson was not home at the time but she would tell him to contact deputies when he returned.

Benson later came to the Criminal Investigation Office where he was questioned and arrested.

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $25,000 bond for Benson after ruling prosecutors had probable cause to charge him with possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, and fleeing.

Benson, who had no prior convictions or pending charges, said he would hire his own attorney and was told to come back to court Dec. 28.