Traffic stop leads to gun, drug charges

Two Hickory men face gun and drug charges after Lincoln County sheriff's deputies stopped the men for speeding.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Office's Drug Interdiction Criminal Enforcement unit was conducting traffic surveillance on U.S. 321 in Lincolnton about 4 p.m. Friday.

Officers saw a burgundy Ford Excursion traveling at a high rate of speed, according to a press release from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies stopped the Ford Excursion, which had Virginia license plates, at mile marker 25. Five people were in the vehicle at the time.

Deputies interviewed Mario Jzohnta Abernathy, 25, of Hickory, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. When Abernathy stepped out of the vehicle, officers saw the end of a pistol showing from under the car's passenger seat. Abernathy was placed in handcuffs and detained while deputies continued the investigation.

Officers seized the pistol, a 40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, which had a full magazine of ammunition. Abernathy was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

During the traffic stop, deputies located five rocks of crack cocaine in the back pocket of a back-seat passenger. The man, Keon Jerrel Carson, 27, of Hickory, was charged with possession of cocaine.

Abernathy and Carson were released from jail on secured bonds of $1,000 and $5,000, respectively.