West Hartford Police said there were three incidents in February involving weapons, all of which began as traffic stops.
By Ronni Newton
Three recent traffic stops by West Hartford Police in February, for what initially appeared to be minor issues like equipment violations and an expired registration, led to the seizure of two semi-automatic handguns and a variety of weapons-related and drug charges for four suspects.
On Feb. 12 at 11 a.m., Lt. Dan Moffo said an officer on patrol stopped a vehicle on New Park Avenue near Stop & Shop for equipment violations.
After initially pulling over, police said, the driver attempted to engage the officer in pursuit but stalled the car. He made a second attempt to flee, but “was unable to engage first gear,” Moffo said.
Backup units were requested, police said, and the driver, Jabari Walcott, 21, of Hillside Avenue in Hartford, had to be forcibly removed from the vehicle.
Walcott was found in possession of crack cocaine, and when officers searched the vehicle they found a Colt MK IV Series 80 .45CP semi-automatic handgun, Moffo said.
Walcott was charged with having weapons in a motor vehicle, carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a pistol, possession of a controlled substance, interfering with an officer, illegal tints, failure to display plates, and driving without a license.
Walcott was initially held on $250,000 surety bond and remains in custody on $150,000 court set bond according to online records. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 11.
In a second incident, Moffo said that just before 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 20, West Hartford police stopped a vehicle on Flatbush Avenue due to equipment violations, including illegal tint.
According to police, officers obtained consent for a search of the vehicle, and located marijuana in the car. One of the occupants was found in possession of heroin/fentanyl, and the other had a large amount of cash in his possession.
Police said a continued search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of pieces of crack cocaine.
A Connecticut State Police K-9 also assisted at the scene, and helped discover a concealed black Ruger LCP 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the vehicle.
The driver, Eddie Castillo, 25, of Longvue Drive in Wethersfield, was charged with possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, possession of less than 1/2 ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, sale of a controlled substance, illegal tints, and operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
According to online court records, Castillo is free on $250,000 surety bond and is due back in court on March 5. Online records indicate he also has pending charges of DUI and possession of a controlled substance.
The passenger in the vehicle, Orlando Luis Olang, 25, of Wolcott Hill Road in Wethersfield, was charged with possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, two counts of criminal possession of a firearm/ammunition/or electronic defense weapon, possession of a controlled substance (fentanyl), and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Olang was initially held on $350,000 surety bond, remains in custody on $250,000 court set bond. According to online court records, he was on probation for a May 2019 incident involving interfering with an officer/resisting arrest and fourth-degree criminal mischief. Online records also indicate that he previously served jail time for possession and engaging police in pursuit.
Olang’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 17.
On Feb. 19, at 5 p.m., at 1022 New Britain Ave., near the intersection with South Street, an officer on patrol stopped a vehicle that had an expired registration, Moffo said.
After interviewing the driver, police said the officer determined he had probable cause to conduct a search of the car and its occupants, which yielded fentanyl, GHB, crystal methamphetamine, Xanax, oxycodone, drug paraphernalia, a BB gun, and a large sum of cash.
Steven White, 33, of Myrtle Avenue in Waterbury, was charged with having weapons in a motor vehicle, illegal storage of narcotics, possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell hallucinogens, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operation of a unregistered motor vehicle.
White was released on $75,000 surety bond and according to online records is due back in court on April 17.
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Great job by West Hartford police to arrest drug dealing folks. I especially liked the charges for illegal tinting of windows. Seems this is an obvious tipoff that occupants of that vehicle have something to hide. Wish police would stop not only cars with illegal tint but also cars, trucks and especially motorcycles that are illegally loud.