EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY-Deputies with the Pct. 4 office of Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden are taking more than criminals off the streets. Their efforts to combat illegal dumping have resulted in the confiscation of three illegally converted fully automatic weapons.
On April 9, Investigator Mark Seals had Deputies Ricky Ford and Drew Sharp supervise the cleanup of an illegal dumpsite on East River Drive at Calhoun in the Bennette Estates area. As in prior cases, a large amount of household garbage was discovered and traced back to its owner, who was then given a citation and a choice of cleaning up the mess or going to jail. So far, everyone has chosen to clean up their mess and later produce proof the garbage was taken to a proper disposal facility. Last Thursday was no exception.
Jeremy Dwayne Mitchell, 21, of Porter was cited for illegal dumping and readily agreed to go with Ford and Sharp and pickup his garbage, according to Ford.
As the deputies stood watching Mitchell and two helpers collect the trash, they heard what Ford said was unquestionably the firing of an automatic weapon.
“It’s a distinct sound,” Ford said.
Within 10 minutes, they heard approximately 60 rounds, fired in short bursts. With experience policing the area, the deputies knew people sometimes went to the river bed to shoot guns, Ford said.
“People go there because it’s deserted and there’s a forest on the other side,” he said.
Once they determined the shots were coming from the river bed, they hurried down the dirt road, but no one was there. Ford said they heard the sound of an ATV and looked back to catch a glimpse of a four-wheeler speeding away, driven by a white male between 25 and 35 years old. The unidentified man is presumed to be the party or one of the parties who fired and then left behind three automatic weapons, with live and ammunition to avoid the approaching deputies. The lethal weapons were left where they might have wound up in anyone’s hands, including area children.
The deputies found a white Honda Accord that appeared to have been parked in the secluded area for a week or more. They contacted dispatchers and had them run a check to see if the car was stolen, but it came back clear.
They retrieved the guns, which were also checked to see if they were reported stolen, and they were not. No registered owner was found, and if they were, they might have faced some serious charges related to the altering of the weapons from semi-automatic to fully automatic. No fingerprints could be recovered from the guns, which were tagged, photographed and secured at the Pct. 4 Constable’s office in New Caney.
Hayden said the discovery of the weapons while handling another law enforcement issue supported his administration’s approach to law enforcement, which is having a presence in the community and addressing the minor crimes, such as illegal dumping, that affect citizens’ quality of life, along with the major crimes such as possessing illegal weapons that are used to take lives.
The Pct. 4 Constable’s Office plans to continue cleaning up East Montgomery County.