PERRYVILLE — A man and a woman are facing firearm charges after investigators found a loaded handgun inside their vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 near Perryville, according to Cecil County District Court records.

Maryland State Police Trooper Bachu arrested the suspects — Lionel J. Manigault, 35, and Ayana A. Gordon, 24, both of Brooklyn, N.Y. — at approximately 2 a.m. on Wednesday after stopping their northbound Mercedes Sprinter near the Perryville ramp because the vehicle allegedly had a cover on the rear license plate, police said.

Investigators identified Gordon as the driver and Manigault, who is the registered owner of the Mercedes Sprinter, as one of three passengers, police added. (The other two passengers — a 16-year-old boy and a man, 28, also New York residents, were not charged, court records show.)

“As soon as the driver opened the glovebox, I observed a firearm that can be described as a brown and silver revolver. I immediately told the driver to place her hands on the steering wheel and called additional units,” Bachu outlines in this written statement of probable cause.

After back-up troopers arrived, Bachu secured and confiscated the handgun, which investigators described as a Smith & Wesson .357 Model 586 magnum revolver that was loaded with five bullets, according to court records.

The presence of the loaded handgun purportedly came as a surprise to Manigault, Gordon and the other two passengers, court records show.

“All of the occupants claimed to have no knowledge of the firearm being present in the vehicle,” according to charging documents.

Maryland Gun Center officials instructed the trooper to arrest Gordon because of her close proximity to the gun in question and to arrest Manigault because he is prohibited from possessing guns due to convictions on his State of New York criminal record, police said.

Moreover, police added, Manigault was convicted of possession of a controlled and dangerous substance (illegal drugs) with intent to distribute in December 2001 and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm, one dating back to January 2006, the other to March 2007.

Manigault is facing six criminal charges, two of which are felonies, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to court records, which also show that he is scheduled for a Nov. 13 preliminary hearing.

He remained in the Cecil County Detention Center in lieu of $35,000 bond on Thursday night, after his bail review hearing earlier that day, court records show.

Free on a $3,000 unsecured bond and scheduled for a Jan. 5 trial, Gordan is charged with loaded handgun in a vehicle and handgun in a vehicle, both of which are misdemeanors, according to court records.

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