Wilmington Motor Vehicle Stop Leads to Two Guns, Two Arrests

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. today, Trooper Stephen Thomson, who is assigned to State Police-Andover, was patrolling Interstate 93 northbound in Wilmington when a Hyundai Tucson sport utility with Arizona plates sped past him at a speed clocked at greater than 100 mph, straddling both the left and middle lanes. Trooper Thomson caught up to the vehicle, activated his emergency lights, and conducted a motor vehicle stop.

Two men were in the Tucson. The trooper approached the driver, who identified himself as MELVIN ACE COLEMAN, 26, of Randolph, and asked for license and registration. The operator of the Arizona-registered Tucson stated he did not have his license on him and handed over a Massachusetts registration belonging to a Lexus ES350. Troopers David Hanafin and Daniel Purtell arrived to assist with the stop.

A query of the Tucson’s Arizona plate revealed it was a rental from Enterprise Rental. Asked for a copy of the rental agreement, COLEMAN said it wasn’t in the car. Asked if the vehicle was rented to him, COLEMAN acknowledged it wasn’t. Asked who, then, it was rented to, he said he would call his friend to find out.

The passenger, meanwhile, stated that he did not have identification on him, and identified himself as TAYVON D. HARPER, 23, of Randolph.

Troopers removed both men from the vehicle. They then observed, in plain view on the floor under the passenger seat, what appeared to be a handgun, and both men were immediately placed in handcuffs. Trooper Hanafin then retrieved a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson with 10 rounds in the magazine. The gun was determined to have been stolen from an auction in Georgia.

During a subsequent inventory of the vehicle, Trooper Thomson then located a second firearm, wrapped in a white T-shirt, under the driver’s seat. That gun was also determined to be a .40 caliber with 10 rounds in the magazine.

Troopers determined that neither suspect had a license to carry a firearm. Both suspects were transported to State Police-Andover where they were booked as follows.

COLEMAN was charged with:

  1. Unlawful possession of a firearm;
  2. Unlawful possession of ammunition;
  3. Being a felon in possession of a firearm (previously convicted of robbery charges in 2006 and 2007);
  4. Possession of a loaded firearm;
  5. Using a motor vehicle without authority;
  6. Reckless operation of a motor vehicle;
  7. Marked lanes violation;
  8. Driving with no license in his possession; and
  9. Speeding

HARPER was charged with:

  1. Unlawful possession of a firearm;
  2. Unlawful possession of ammunition;
  3. Being a felon in possession of a firearm (previously convicted of distribution of Class A and Class B narcotics); and
  4. Possession of a loaded firearm.

HARPER also was found to be the subject of four open firearms charges in Suffolk Superior Court.

Following booking at the barracks, the suspects were transported to the Essex County House of Correction in Middleton, where they were held until expected arraignments in Woburn District Court this morning.