OKEECHOBEE — After a traffic stop, a 17-year-old Okeechobee resident was charged with grand theft of a firearm.
Zachary Ryan Smith was arrested Feb. 8 at approximately 8:15 p.m. when Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley Waskiewicz was patrolling the area near the 2000 block of Southeast 40th Avenue and spotted a vehicle traveling at varying speeds 5-10mph below the speed limit.
According to Waskiewicz’ report, the vehicle began crossing over the fog line and failed to stop at a stop sign. When the deputy approached the vehicle, she asked for license, registration and proof of insurance but was told the driver did not have any of the items requested. She saw a marijuana cigarette burning in the ashtray. There were three occupants in the vehicle and none provided identification, but all said they were 17 years old. Smith, who was driving, was visibly shaking and could not answer simple questions. Later, he said he was driving poorly because he was nervous about the marijuana being in the car.
A search of the vehicle produced a Taurus 380 handgun which dispatch advised was stolen. The search also turned up a box of ammunition, a scale and 55 grams of suspected marijuana. Smith was charged with possession of a firearm under the age of 18 and with grand theft of a firearm. He was turned over to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. The other two teens were released into their parents’ custody.
Smith was charged with unarmed burglary of an unoccupied vehicle on Dec. 28 after he and Robert Waugh reportedly broke into several vehicles and stole a Dodge Challenger. The driver in that instance was Waugh, and he was charged with grand theft auto.