THP arrests 2 on drug charges after traffic stop

Published 5:28 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A man and woman face drug charges following a traffic stop late Monday night.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Dunn arrested Amanda Jean Fontana, 29, of 110 Hardin Lane, Unit 4, Unicoi, and Gino Anthony Fontana, 28, of 248 Oliver Edwards Road, Jonesborough, shortly before midnight on Monday. Dunn charged Amanda Fontana with possession of Schedule VI drugs for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dunn charged Gino Fontana with possession of Schedule VI drugs for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia, the unlawful possession or carrying of a weapon, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, driving on a suspended license, and speeding.

According to court documents, Dunn was running stationary radar in Interstate I-26 where it passes through Carter County when he saw a black Jeep traveling at what he described as a “high rate of speed.” Dunn said his radar showed the Jeep was traveling at 84 mph in a 55 mph zone.

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“As I pulled out on I-26 I observed the vehicle make a sudden move and almost lost control of the vehicle,” Dunn said.

When Dunn approached the Jeep, he saw a female, later identified as Amanda Fontana, in the driver’s seat and a male, later identified as Gino Fontana, sitting in the back seat. Dunn said while he spoke with Mrs. Fontana that Mr. Fontana was “acting very nervous.”

“After investigating the incident, it was believed that Mr. Fontana was driving when the speeding violation occurred and that him and Mrs. Fontana switched places,” Dunn said.

After checking for warrants on the couple, Dunn said he learned both Mr. Fontana and Mrs. Fontana are currently wanted in Washington County in connection with an armed robbery.

As the Trooper spoke with both subjects, he noted he could smell the odor of marijuana in the Jeep. He said Mr. Fontana admitted there was marijuana inside the vehicle. Upon searching the Jeep, Dunn noted he found multiple bags containing what appeared to be marijuana as well as items of drug paraphernalia. Dunn said he also found a Glock 40 caliber handgun and a pair of black brass knuckles inside the vehicle.

Dunn said he also located $3,210 in cash inside Mrs. Fontana’s purse and Mr. Fontana was in possession of $669 cash.

“I asked both Mr. Fontana and Mrs. Fontana where they worked, and they both stated that they do not have a job,” Dunn said. “Based on my training and experience, I believe that they money recovered was used in the sale and delivery of narcotics.”

Both Gino Fontana and Amanda Fontana were transported to the Carter County Detention Center. Amanda Fontana was later released after posting a $6,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on July 18.

Gino Fontana appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court Wednesday morning for arraignment. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. appointed the Public Defender to represent Gino Fontana and scheduled him to return to court on May 16. Gino Fontana remains held at the jail under a $22,000 bond.