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Suwanee officer cleared in ongoing probe of gun found at jail

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Suwanee police officials have cleared the arresting officer in the case of a drug-possession suspect who allegedly sneaked a gun into the Gwinnett County Jail, where a probe into the matter continues, authorities said this week.

Deputies found the .25 caliber handgun in a pre-admissions area of the jail March 19 after receiving information about the weapon. Sheriff's Department investigators said last week that Duluth resident Andre Rose brought the stolen firearm into the jail after Suwanee police arrested him on marijuana possession charges following a traffic stop.

Suwanee police spokesman Capt. Clyde Byers said his department looked into the incident and found that Officer Michael Troutman conducted "a pretty thorough search" before placing Rose into his car and transporting him to jail.

Byers said the suspect was wearing three layers of baggy shorts and pants and had the small gun hidden in his private area, between his legs.

Protocol requires officers to search all suspects prior to placing them in the back of patrol vehicles, Byers said.

According to a police report completed by Troutman, Rose was pulled over with two other people on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard while driving a green Audi A4 police believed could have been involved in a drug transaction. The car's tag was registered to a Mazda, the report states.

While speaking with Rose, the driver, Troutman noticed the vehicle's window tint appear darker than is legal; during a test on the window tint, the officer noticed the smell of fresh marijuana and asked Rose to step out, where the officer searched him but found nothing, the report states.

Small amounts of marijuana were found in the vehicle and where Rose's hand was on the roof while he was being searched. He admitted that the drugs were his and was hand-cuffed and arrested, while the other two people in the car were released, the report states.

Exactly what happened at the jail is under investigation, said Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Sean Smith.

"Criminals continue to devise new ways to get illegal material in the jail, and we have to continue to adapt and grow in our techniques and procedures," Smith said.

The weapon was found in a pre-admissions holding cell near the jail's intake port where several suspects can be held at once, prior to being brought into the regular population.

Smith was unsure how many suspects, if any, were in the cell with Rose or when the weapon was found. A full incident report has not been completed, he said.

In addition to drug charges and traffic citations, Rose is charged with felony counts of theft by receiving stolen property and crossing the guard line with a weapon, along with a misdemeanor charge of carrying a deadly weapon. He remained jailed Tuesday.