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Gaston Police Department officers arrest one after short pursuit; suspect faces multiple charges

Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Gaston Police Department officers arrested a man Thursday afternoon after a short pursuit that ended with the arrest of a suspect who now faces multiple charges. The man also had outstanding warrants from the West Columbia Police Department for a domestic violence second offense as well as a burglary. He will also have to answer for those charges while he is being detained.

On Thursday, June 25, 2020, Major Stephen Watkins with the Gaston Police Department was on routine patrol on Highway 321 south near Ballpark Road. Major Watkins got behind a car that caught his attention and he ran its license tag on his in-car computer. That car’s tag came back stolen out of Georgia. It was taken from a vehicle which had been in Richland County. Major Watkins activated all his cruiser’s warning devices and attempted to initiate a traffic stop right at Hwy. 321 south and Wood Trail Drive. Instead of pulling over as required by law, the subject vehicle failed to yield and continued driving toward Cayce, initiating a pursuit.

Watkins followed the fleeing driver until the Busbee Road turnoff where the suspect made a quick U-turn and drove back south toward Gaston staying on Hwy 321 south. While he was fleeing, the suspect was caught on Watkin’s dash cam throwing bags of what appeared to be narcotics out the vehicle’s window. Major Watkins said that his experience led him to believe the bags to contain methamphetamine.

Captain Brandon Poole, also of the Gaston PD, was responding to assist Watkins coming toward the suspect and the cruiser from the opposite direction. Before he could intercept the suspect, the man steered his vehicle into the parking lot of the Country Gas Mart. There he threw another bag of what is believed to be narcotics out the window of the vehicle as it came to a stop. Watkins ordered the subject out of the vehicle at gunpoint and he was quickly taken into custody without further incident.

During his initial field interrogation, the suspect gave Watkins a false name and date of birth. The suspect stuck to his story about his identity, but some of his information just wasn't adding up for the experienced officers. They kept working to establish who he really was. The officers eventually did obtain the man’s true identity and found that he had recently been released from the jail. That’s when they discovered that he was wanted by the West Columbia Police Department.

The suspect was positively identified as Brick Martin. A check of the appropriate records systems revealed his driver’s license was suspended and he had numerous prior narcotic violations.

Gaston officers booked Martin into the Lexington County Detention Center on charges of driving under suspension, possession of a stolen tag, operating uninsured, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamines. He also is facing charges for destruction of evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and littering.

Martin will have to face a judge who may set a bond amount.

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