Two people were arrested early Wednesday morning after a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy reported finding drugs and a loaded gun in a car the two were in.
Nannette Ruelle, 32, and Stephen Hankins, 35, were taken into custody after Deputy Rick Conyers stopped the car Hankins was driving because it had a headlight out.
During a court hearing Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn said neither Ruelle nor Hankins had a driver’s license in their possession, and he asked them to write their names down on a piece of paper.
Tri-County Drug Task Force Investigator Danny Fleetcher said in a probable-cause affidavit that Conyers arrested Hankins after radio dispatchers said he had an active warrant from Mississippi.
Hankins allegedly gave Conyers permission to search the vehicle and when Conyers asked Ruelle if there was anything in her bag, she allegedly said there was a gun and said Hankins had handed it to her.
Achorn said the gun had five rounds in it, and another shell was found in the floorboard of the vehicle.
The bag also contained several needles commonly used to inject methamphetamine, cotton balls, and a white residue, according to police.
Fletcher said Ruelle refused to make a statement and asked for a lawyer, and when Hankins was questioned about the gun, he denied any knowledge of it.
Achorn said Ruelle has no prior felony convictions but Hankins has multiple prior convictions.
Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled that prosecutors had probable cause to charge Ruelle with possession of drug paraphernalia and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, and to charge Hankins with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Bond for Ruelle and Hankins was set at $20,000 each, and they were told to come back to court July 11.
The Public Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Ruelle and Hankins.