Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Gaston police officers arrested a teen Monday after an investigation they were working on turned up multiple stolen cars. They also happened on various types of illegal drugs, cash, an ATV, and a gun. Austin Cottrell, 18, of Gaston was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center on these crimes and several traffic charges Monday afternoon.
According to Major Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department, their department had recently dealt with Cottrell. While Watkins was on patrol Monday morning, he spotted Cottrell driving and knew he had no license. Watkins immediately fell in behind him and made a traffic stop. The boy did pull over when the police cruiser’s warning devices were activated.
When Watkins approached the vehicle, he immediately spotted a baggie containing a crystal-like substance hanging out of Cottrell’s front pocket. After seeing that, Watkins detained the teen and searched the vehicle he had been driving. During that search, officers found a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 handgun, 18.3 grams of methamphetamine, and 8 grams of heroin. They also located $2,300 in cash. At some point, Cottrell was placed under arrest.
Watkins said he was familiar with Cottrell because of stolen vehicle investigation he and Captain Poole had been working. In the last week, officers had been to a residence on Anderson Drive at Anderson Court several times. Police knew that this was a place Cottrell often stayed. During their first visit, they managed to recover four stolen vehicles out of Aiken and Fairfield Counties. On another instance, they located an additional stolen vehicle and a 4-wheeler taken out of Charleston County.
Since being placed under arrest, Cottrell has been charged with driving without proper registration, driving without a valid driver’s license, unlawfully carrying the gun, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He is also being charged with trafficking methamphetamine and heroin.
The investigation into the stolen vehicles is on-going.