Special News Release 13 May 2021
On 12 May 2021 Det. Zide was patrolling I-77 north bound, when he observed a black Chevy Tahoe bearing OH registration, weaving within its lane and bouncing up and down significantly.
Det. Zide followed the vehicle, noting the driver crossed the right-hand fog line completely twice. A traffic stop was then initiated with the driver continuing to travel north bound for approximately one mile, eventually stopping near the 16-mile marker.
Contact was made with the driver, Gary Stafford, and his female passenger, Darlene Seckman. Det. Zide explained the reason for the stop and requested Stafford’s identification. As Stafford began to retrieve his identification he angled his body in a way that revealed a handgun in his front pocket. Det. Zide immediately ordered the occupants not to move. Stafford was asked in reference to a CCW permit, to which Stafford advised he did not have one. Det. Zide then removed the handgun from Stafford.
Both occupants were advised to step out of the vehicle, with Stafford being read his rights. Dispatch checked records on both subjects finding Stafford having an active warrant through Guernsey County. Stafford was placed under arrest and secured in the sheriff’s patrol vehicle.
When Stafford was asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, Stafford admitted to smoking marijuana in the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle was then conducted with Det. Roe locating a black box under the vehicle. Inside the box were numerous used drug syringes and suspected methamphetamine, packaged in two separate baggies and one plastic container.
Seckman was read her rights and asked about the magnetic box and/or contents. Seckman advised she had no knowledge of the box or its contents. Seckman did advise that Stafford was an IV drug user.
Stafford was then asked about the box, and he also denied any knowledge of it.
Seckman was asked about anything illegal that may be on her person, with her handing over two used drug syringes from her bra and a small baggie containing crack cocaine (admittedly crack) from the crotch area of her pants. Seckman stated she took the items from Stafford prior to the stop to hide them, this being the reason it took so long to pull over initially.
Stafford was then asked about the newly located items with him advising the crack and syringes were his and that he handed them to Seckman as they were getting pulled over for her to hide. Stafford claimed Seckman instructed him to do so, as it was her idea. Stafford then confirmed the substance was crack cocaine. Stafford continued to deny any and all knowledge of the box found under the car.
Stafford admitted to not having any type of CCW permit and claimed he was trying to show detectives the firearm by his movements in the car, despite not saying anything about it.
Detectives later weighed the crack, weighing 3.10g with its baggie and the methamphetamine weighed 2.84g with its baggies (rubber container weight not included). The suspected methamphetamine was also field tested, with a positive result.
Gary Dale Stafford, age, 43, 335 Sandhurst Drive, Zanesville, OH, was placed under arrest and charged with improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, possession of cocaine, a fourth-degree felony, and possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Stafford was also arrested on the warrant for nonsupport of dependents.
Darlene Marie Seckman, age 31, 116 Johnson Street, Zanesville, OH, was placed under arrest and charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, possession of cocaine, a fourth-degree felony and possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony.
Seckman and Stafford appeared in Marietta Municipal Court and Seckman is being held on a $15,000 bond and Stafford is being held on $5,000 bond.
The Washington Morgan Noble Major Crimes Task Force is part of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yosts Organized Crime Investigation Commission and is comprised of representatives of Post 84 of the Ohio State Highway Patrol; Washington, Monroe, Morgan and Noble County Sheriff’s Offices; the Marietta, Belpre and McConnelsville Police Departments; and the Washington, Morgan and Noble County Prosecutor’s Office.