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MICHIGAN CITY — A routine traffic stop on Saturday led to gun charges, police said.

At about 1:15 a.m., police pulled over a blue Chrysler in the area of Coolspring Avenue for speeding and other traffic violations. 

Police said during the traffic stop investigation a strong odor of a substance believed to be marijuana coming from the inside of the vehicle was detected. While removing the occupants from the vehicle in order to facilitate a search of the vehicle, police said a silver Smith & Wesson .38 revolver was discovered on one of the rear passengers. 

Police said the serial numbers on the revolver had been damaged in an attempt to remove them. Another weapon, a Smith & Wesson .40 semi-automatic pistol, was also located in the subject's pants. 

According to police that weapon had been reported stolen through the Michigan City Police Department. Police identified the suspect as Deonte Miller, 20, of Michigan City.

Miller was charged with possession of a firearm with no permit and possession of a firearm with an altered identification, both level 5 felonies. Police said Miller was also charged with minor consumption of alcohol and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors. A second back seat passenger, Mario Ward, 20, of Michigan City, was also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. Police said both suspects were transported to the LaPorte County Jail for booking.

The driver of the vehicle, Denquise Hart, 26, of Michigan City, was cited for driving while suspended. Police said he was not incarcerated.


Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.