2 arrested on gun, drug charges after allegedly stolen van stopped

A Garland County Sheriff's Department patrol unit. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record
A Garland County Sheriff's Department patrol unit. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record

A traffic stop on a minivan with no tags resulted in the arrests late Thursday of a local man and woman on multiple felony charges after a gun and drugs were allegedly found and the van and gun were determined to have been stolen.

Ramanda Rachelle Echols, 36, who lists a Kreylon Drive address, and Colton Lane McGrew, 27, who lists a Cones Road address, were taken into custody shortly before 11:30 p.m. and each charged with felony counts of simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, punishable by up to life in prison, possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver, punishable by up to 20 years, and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, punishable by up to six years, and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver and theft by receiving.

Echols was also charged with felony warrants for delivery of meth, punishable by up to 20 years, and a felony count of theft of property over $1,000, punishable by up to six years, and was cited for driving a vehicle with no tags, driving on a suspended driver's license and no proof of insurance.

Both were being held on zero bonds and are set to appear April 17 in Garland County District Court.

According to the probable cause affidavit, shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday, Garland County sheriff's Deputy Kevin Hampton made a traffic stop on an unlicensed gold 2000 Chrysler Town and Country minivan in the 200 block of Broadview Drive, off Highway 290, for not having tags.

He made contact with the female driver, later identified as Echols, and her male passenger, identified as McGrew, and asked for their IDs. Echols told him she didn't have hers and became "very nervous" and "began to shake," while McGrew handed the deputy his information.

Echols allegedly gave Hampton a false name at first and told him she had purchased the vehicle two days ago from a friend of her father's. She provided a bill of sale in a woman's name that Hampton recognized because he had recently spoken to the woman on a separate call.

"I knew the story the driver was telling me to be false," Hampton states, and had her exit the van and told her he was familiar with the owner of the van so he was going to detain her.

Asked if she had anything illegal, Echols allegedly stated she had "some hydros" in her bra. At that point, the dispatcher advised they were not able to locate anyone with the original name she gave, so Hampton asked McGrew who she really was and he reportedly identified her as Echols.

While checking her actual name, the dispatcher also advised Hampton that the owner of the van had called to report it stolen and that the owner had named Echols as the suspect who took the van, reportedly valued at $5,000. At that point, Hampton had McGrew exit as well and detained both of them.

In searching the van, Hampton allegedly located several bags between the front seat "within arm's reach of both" suspects. Echols stated the "colorful bag" was hers and had her wallet in it.

Inside the bag, the deputy reportedly found a glass pipe commonly used to smoke narcotics. Inside a black bag, he found a loaded .22-caliber revolver and a computer check showed it had been reported stolen out of Louisiana.

Also inside the second bag was a baggie with 8.7 grams of marijuana, digital scales, numerous smaller baggies and two syringes. Both Echols and McGrew claimed the items found were inside the van when they got in it.

Both Echols and McGrew were taken into custody and once at the detention center a female deputy allegedly located 14 hydrocodone pills in Echols' bra.

According to the affidavits on the delivery charges, on separate occasions in January and March 2022, detectives with the Hot Springs Police Special Investigations Division used a confidential informant to make a controlled purchase of meth from Echols in the 400 block of Cones Road.

In the January transaction, Echols allegedly sold the informant 4.4 grams of what later tested positive for meth and in March she allegedly sold 3.5 grams which tested positive for meth. Warrants were issued for Echols on Sept. 29, 2022.

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