A Safford police officer on duty on Friday, October 26, 2019, observed two vehicles accelerate above the posted speed limit of 55 MPH on Highway 191 where two lanes merge into one. The vehicles were heading south at about 10:30 p.m.. The officer continued to watch the two cars ahead of him. In the area of Lebanon Road, both vehicles passed a vehicle in front of them by entering the left turn lane. The officer activated his emergency lights and pulled both vehicles over near Roper Lake Road.
The officer approached the first vehicle and asked the driver if he knew why he had been pulled over. The driver replied that he had passed a slower moving vehicle illegally. The officer smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The driver had bloodshot, watery eyes. The officer asked for the driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. The passenger handed the driver an ID and the driver tried to give it to the officer. The officer asked if the ID belonged to the driver and he said, ‘no.’ He told the officer that he did not have a license.
The driver then gave the officer a California ID, which identified him as Jermall Hardy. The officer asked if there were any weapons in the car and the driver said that there were none. The passenger, however, seemed hesitant so the officer again asked if there were any weapons in the car. Both of the passengers said that there were no weapons on the car.
The officer made contact with the occupants of the other car and they were released with a verbal warning. The officer did not notice any signs of impairment.
The officer ran a check on Hardy’s ID and confirmed that he did not have a driver’s license. The officer asked Hardy if he had been drinking that night. Hardy said that he’d had “a shot” earlier at the hotel. Hardy was asked to perform some field sobriety tests. According to the police report, Hardy did not perform the tests well.
Hardy admitted to using marijuana a few hours prior to being pulled over. He said that he did not have a medical marijuana card. At that point the officer placed Hardy under arrest.
The front seat passenger also admitted smoking marijuana earlier but claimed that he was not impaired. The officer told him that he could not drive with marijuana in his system.
The officer asked the passenger in the back seat if he had anything illegal. He said that he did not. All three of the men were searched but authorities did not find anything illegal on them. Because of the odor of marijuana, authorities searched the vehicle. The officer found an empty pistol holster on the rear passenger floor. A loaded 9mm handgun was found under the front passenger seat. A .380 caliber pistol was also found under the front passenger seat near the front. The .380 was not loaded.
The front seat passenger admitted that the .380 belonged to him and that he had someone purchase it for him recently. He explained that he wanted to tell the officer that it was there but after the driver denied having any firearms, the passenger said he was afraid to say anything.
The rear seat passenger denied any knowledge of the firearms but admitted that his fingerprints and DNA might be on the 9mm because he had handled it earlier. He said that he did not put the gun in the car. The man said that he had been convicted of a felony in 2005, but denied ownership or possession of the gun.
Hardy finally admitted that the 9mm belonged to him. When asked if had any felony convictions he said that he didn’t think so. Later he said that his felony convictions were reduced to misdemeanors. Hardy and the front seat passenger were placed under arrest for misconduct involving weapons, for failure to notify the police officer about having weapons in the vehicle. The passenger was later released after a criminal history check came back clear.
Hardy’s criminal history showed multiple felonies including robbery, assaults, burglary, and thefts. Based on his criminal history, Hard was booked into the Graham County Jail for misconduct involving weapons by a prohibited possessor.