Vol Hoops Bust: Players Face Felony Gun Charges

UPDATE: (4:27p ET): Here’s the official news release from the Knoxville Police Dept. on the arrest of four Tennessee Volunteer basketball players earlier today. Two of the players arrested, Tyler Smith and Brian Williams, are facing felony charges for being in possession of guns with altered serial numbers.

4 Tennessee Volunteer Basketball Players Busted For Drugs, Weapons

On January 01, 2010, at about 1127 hrs., Officer Sakovich stopped a car for speeding on I-129 at Kingston Pk. The officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car as he spoke with the driver.

The officer requested back up and a K-9 officer. Officer Chadwell walked his dog around the vehicle were it alerted. The driver and 3 passengers were taken out of the vehicle so officers could search the vehicle.

Items and their locations found inside the vehicle:

A. handgun under driver seat , accessible by either the driver or left rear seat passenger.

B. handgun, with altered serial #, under passenger seat, accessible by either the front seat passenger or right rear seat passenger C. baggy of schedule VI drugs D. open container of alcohol

It could not be determined if the driver and passengers were under the influence of marijuana or not although the strong odor indicated that marijuana had been recently smoked in the car.

Because of this, physical arrests were made instead of misdemeanor citations for the misdemeanor charges. Possession of a firearm with an altered serial # is a felony charge. All four individuals were physically arrested.

Suspects and charges:

1. Cameron Alexander Tatum (driver) (a) unlawful poss. of firearm (b) open container of alcohol

2. David Tyler Smith (front seat passenger) (a) unlawful poss. of firearm (b) poss. of firearm with altered serial #

3. Melvin Lamont Goins II ( left rear seat passenger ) (a) unlawful poss. of firearm (b) poss. of schedule VI

4. Brian M. Williams ( right rear seat passenger ) (a)unlawful poss. of firearm (b) poss. of firearm with altered serial # (c) poss. of schedule VI

UPDATE: (4:21p ET): The KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL has background on the four Tennessee basketball players arrested:

UT’s next game is Wednesday at Thompson-Boling Arena against Charlotte.

Smith has started all 12 games and is averaging 11.7 points per game and 4.7 rebounds. Tatum has started 6 games and is averaging 8.7 points per game. Williams has averaged 5.9 points and 5.4 rebounds off the bench. Goins has made one start and is averaging 6.1 points.

Smith announced in June he would not enter the NBA draft. Pearl said when it became apparent that Smith was not “locked down’’ as a first-round pick, Smith weighed that against his opportunity to return to UT and graduate and lead the team.

Smith said that he considered playing in Europe, but he never seriously pursued it.

UPDATE: (4:16p ET): From CHATTANOOGA TIMES-PRESS reporter Wes Rucker:

Because of gun location under his seat, [UT Starting Guard-Forward] Tyler Smith initially charged with the altered serial number weapon possession. That’s the big’n.

One gun found underneath each front seat. The one under TSmiths passenger seat had altered serial number, tho coulda been placed from back.

The Vols were stopped for speeding at 11:27 am. Two guns, drugs and open alcohol container in the car.

One of the guns had altered serial number, which is a felony charge, per KPD. Cam Tatum was the driver. 

UPDATE (3:57p ET): KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL has this follow:

The players are facing misdemeanor weapon and drug charges, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

“We take these matters very seriously,” UT coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement released by UT. “We are still gathering information. Once the appropriate authorities have provided us with all of the facts, we will act accordingly.”

WNML-AM sports radio host and former Tennessee volleyball player Heather Harrington via Twitter reports today that four Tennessee basketball players have been arrested on marijuana possession and weapons charges.

 Just confirmed from KPD (Knoxville Police Dept.) officials four UT mens basketball players arrested on marajuana (sic) possession charges and weapons charges.

KPD source confirmed the players are Melvin Goins, Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams

Vols were arrested on I-40 around 11am this New Years Day.

Stay tuned for more developments.