KPD claims seizure of drugs, guns, and cash

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(Clockwise from top left): Darius Davis; Jenna Merritt; Percell Booker, and Travis Goodwin

Patrol officers from the Knoxville Police Department’s East Delta Squad seized firearms, drugs, and more than $5,000 in cash believed to be from drug sales in a series of arrests made last week, authorities said. 

The first bust took place December 7 when KPD officers arrested Travis Goodwin, 48, and Jenna Merritt, 29, after they were found passed out in a car parked in front of the Firehouse Subs at 5226 North Broadway in the Fountain City community, court records show.

They allegedly had crack cocaine, methamphetamine and more than $1,900 in cash in their possession, according to KPD spokesperson Scott Erland, and they were both charged with the manufacture, sale or delivery of a controlled substance.

On December 10, 20-year-old Darius Davis was arrested at the Dollar General Store on Dutch Valley Drive for possessing a firearm with the intent to go armed as well as several drug charges, the spokesperson continued.

“He was found in possession of a large amount of marijuana, over $1,400, various paraphernalia and a handgun, all of which was confiscated,” Erland said. 

According to arrest warrants, Davis had threatened employees of the store with a gun before going out to a car and sitting in the parking lot. When police approached him they could allegedly smell marijuana coming from the vehicle, prompting the search that led to the discovery of the contraband.

The final arrest came on December 12 when a large amount of marijuana— some of it colorfully packaged with names like “Jolly Rancherz” and “Granddaddy Pluto” — was allegedly found in the possession of Percell Booker, 25, in North Knoxville. 

Booker was confronted by police in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 812 Sterchi Ridge Way when the officers were checking out a report that some males were urinating outside their vehicle in the parking lot, according to court records. 

“He was found in possession of a handgun, a large amount of marijuana, over $2,500 cash, opium and various drug paraphernalia. He was also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to go armed and various drug charges,” said Erland.

The marijuana (an estimated 211 grams of it) was packaged in a way that’s similar to how it’s sold in states where the drug is legal. When asked if the marijuana could have been smuggled into Tennessee from areas with different pot laws, Erland said he didn’t have enough information to provide an accurate reply.

“The report or arrest warrant doesn’t say anything to indicate that one way or the other, so I couldn’t really definitively answer that. Booker has a listed address in Knoxville, but that doesn’t really indicate where it came from. To be clear, these arrests were made by patrol officers responding to calls for service, not from long-term drug investigations,” he said.  

Contraband seized by KPD during a trio of street-level drug busts last week.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com.

Published on December 14, 2021.