WESTERVILLE – A Whitehall man was arrested in Westerville, accused of having a loaded handgun in a car.

According to a police report, it the arrest was made during a traffic stop for an unlit license plate late Thursday night at the intersection of Huber Village Blvd and S State St. An officer started following the car from a nearby home he claimed was previously associated with drug dealers.

The officer said that he immediately smelled marijuana coming from the car during the stop. He noted that the occupants of the car appeared nervous and would only roll down the window a couple inches.

As the stop progressed, officers found that the driver did not have a valid license. The registered owner of the car was riding as the front seat passenger. The driver admitted that there was around 60 grams of marijuana in the car.

A search of the car turned up a Glock 27 handgun, two loaded magazines and a clear plastic bag of marijuana. A patdown of the 18-year-old back seat passenger revealed a single round of .40SW ammunition, along with another baggie of marijuana, according to the police report.

Police say the back seat passenger admitted to unloading the handgun and placing it under the passenger seat when it became apparent that they were being pulled over.

The back seat passenger was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle. He was booked into the Franklin County Jail awaiting arraignment.

While the recently-passed Senate Bill 215 makes it legal to carry a handgun in the state without a license, it only applies to those over 21 legally allowed to possess a handgun.

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