A Monroe resident with a long list of past narcotics offenses was recently arrested by Union Parish sheriff’s deputies on additional drug counts.

Michael Shannon Cotten, 44, of 206 Curve Drive, Monroe, was booked Oct. 20 into the Union Parish Detention Center at Farmerville along with two other people who were riding in the vehicle he was driving.

Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates said the department received a complaint about an unwanted person that kept driving by the complainant’s house on John Taylor Road. One deputy responding to the call saw the described Chevrolet Blazer leaving the area and stopped the vehicle for having an object blocking his rearview mirror.

With other deputies arriving on the scene, Cotten was asked to step out of the vehicle and appeared extremely nervous, shaking and his pupils dilated. Found in a search of Cotten’s person was an Ibuprofen 800 mg tablet along with several knives, one appearing to be a dangerous weapon and a pack of rolling papers.

Sheriff Dusty Gates said dispatch advised the deputies that Cotten was driving under suspension for driving while intoxicated and had an active warrant in Ouachita Parish.

Deputies reported the owner of the vehicle, John Michael Bell, 32, of Lake Charles, and another passenger, Hannah Moss, 32, of Minden, also appeared very nervous, sweaty and Bell with dilated pupils.

Deputies asked Bell if they could search the vehicle and he first refused asking to speak with one of the deputies. He told the deputy that there was a black bag on the back seat where he was sitting and that Cotten had passed it to him to hide.

Gates said the black bag contained some 3.4 grams of suspected methamphetamine, several small bags, a digital scale and a scoop.

Moss also told deputies she saw Cotten pass the bag to Bell in the back seat.

After they were also detained, a further search of the vehicle turned up two marijuana cigarettes, a grinder and one small bag of suspected meth that was found in a dashboard hole.

Cotten claimed the marijuana was his, but nothing else.

He was booked on felony charges of possession of marijuana (12 previous offenses) and possession of meth with intent to distribute (nine past offenses). He also was booked on misdemeanor counts of illegal carrying of a weapon, driving while under suspension (five past offenses) and possession of drug paraphernalia. His total bail was set at $64,000. Bell and Moss were booked on a felony count of possession with intent to distribute meth.

Their bail was set at $30,000 each.

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