Steel Penguin detail nets four guns, three arrests during Youngstown traffic stop

Local News

One of those arrested said he needed a gun for protection because his cousin was murdered in March

Deland Richardson, Dejon Rogers, Aaran Brown Stewart, Mahoning County, operation steel penguin

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Members of a special detail looking for illegal guns Thursday found four of them and arrested three people after pulling over a car that ran a stop sign in Youngstown.

Awaiting arraignment this afternoon in municipal court are Deland Richardson, 20, of Austintown; Aaran Stewart, 21, whose address was not listed; and Dejon Rogers, 22, of Cameron Avenue.

They are all charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. Richardson has an additional charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The three are in the Mahoning County Jail while awaiting their arraignments.

Reports said an officer assigned to Operation Steel Penguin pulled over a car Richardson was driving about 9:05 p.m. at East Dewey and South avenues after it ran a stop sign. When officers stopped to talk to the people in the car, they could immediately smell marijuana.

Reports said when the three were asked if there was any marijuana in the car, they said no. They were told to get out so the car could be searched because the marijuana smell gave officers probable cause to look inside.

When Rogers got out of the car, reports said officers could see a magazine for a handgun in his pocket and he was handcuffed right away. He then told police he put a gun under his seat and officers found an unloaded 9mm handgun, reports said.

Police searched the car and found a 9mm pistol and a .40-caliber pistol next to a mason jar filled with marijuana in the driver’s seat and found a .45-caliber handgun in a backpack in the back where Stewart was sitting, reports said.

Reports said Richardson told police he’s had a gun since 2019 and was carrying it for protection because his cousin was murdered in March.

Reports also said Richardson had $2,354 on him.

This is the second incarnation of Operation Steel Program, a program where city officers join federal, state and county law enforcement agencies to look for repeat gun offenders who still use guns and the guns themselves. The detail began operations earlier this week.

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