‘Bongs,’ Bag of Pot, Firearm Add to Troubles of Defendant Already Facing Catalytic Converter Theft Charges


By Stephanie Boulos

SACRAMENTO, CA – Byron Jones was already in deep trouble this week when his case came up in Sacramento County Superior Court—he was facing felony theft of catalytic converters.

Now the court has ruled he’s also going to trial on firearms and drug-related charges.

Judge Donald Currier found in the preliminary hearing of Jones that there is probable cause for a firearm charge, based on marijuana found in the defendant’s bag and a very loose link to a room in his house found with marijuana paraphernalia and which contained a gun in the closet.

Jones, at his hearing for felony and misdemeanor theft and firearm charges, had three different witnesses cross-examined about three separate instances involving his alleged theft of catalytic converters.

The first of the witnesses, Officer Brian Hoh, detailed his search of the defendant’s vehicle after he had been stopped for a violation of his probation. In the defendant’s car, several converters were found, along with drills, batteries, and a hydraulic jack lift.

Officer Hoh identified these items as commonly used in the theft of catalytic converters, a type of theft that can rake up to several hundred dollars apiece and almost $2,000 to replace.

The next witness, Officer Brett Melloch, documented how, on Dec. 6, 2020, the defendant was seen stealing two catalytic converters from an auto parts store.

The third witness was Detective Chad Lewis, who responded to a call to the Arden Fair Mall, where footage appeared to show the defendant stealing another converter from under a car.

On Feb. 4, Lewis and team of officers conducted a search of the defendant’s property where the defendant was found standing near the garage with methamphetamine on his person, near a backpack that was identified as his and contained multiple paraphernalia for smoking meth and a bag containing a large quantity of marijuana.

The search of the rest of the property found a handgun, sitting on a very visible shelf in a closet in the room closest to the defendant from the driveway.

The room contained only female belongings, and even a corner with a crib and obvious child belongings. The room was assumed to belong to a female, not the defendant, however, a portion of the room contained multiple smoking devices (bongs).

Even though the room was not the defendant’s, and the defendant vehemently denied knowing of the firearm and possessing it, Deputy District Attorney Heather Phillips claimed he was alone in the house, with access to a very visible firearm.

Judge Currier concluded the large quantity of marijuana in the defendant’s bag, the numerous marijuana smoking devices, and the proximity and visibility of the gun, are probable cause to find true and sufficient evidence to be charged. The trial date is pending.

I’m a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!

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