Couple with 2 kids in backseat stopped in stolen car on I-78 in Lower Saucon, cops say

A couple with two young children in the backseat was found with a stolen car along Interstate 78 in Lower Saucon Township.

Malik Juanyea Haggans, 26, of Washington DC and Tanya Louise Jones, 28, of Maryland both are charged with two counts receiving stolen property, a felony and misdemeanor; three counts forgery, all felonies; and motor vehicle offenses, all summary. Haggans additionally is charged with marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia possession and evidence tampering, all misdemeanors.

Pennsylvania State Police in Belfast said shortly before 6 pm Sunday a trooper along Interstate 78 east in Lower Saucon Township stopped a 2019 Chrysler 300 sedan, driven by Jones. The car was allegedly traveling so slow, it was obstructing the flow of highway traffic near mile marker 68.4. The car also had tinted windows and a tinted windshield, police said.

When speaking to both Jones and passenger, Haggans, police said the pair appeared visibly nervous, looking down and not making eye contact. Haggans additionally was shaking and breathing heavily, according to police.

Jones allegedly told the trooper she borrowed the car from her uncle and couldn’t provide any motor vehicle documentation. The trooper detected the odor of marijuana and there was marijuana on Haggans’ lap area, police said.

A 5-year-old boy was in the backseat without a booster seat and a 9-year-old girl was also in the backseat, police said.

Haggans was taken into custody on separate active warrants. Jones provided consent for troopers to search the car, which yielded a Virginia license plate in the back seat, bags of marijuana, and a silver digital scale, according to police. An alleged forged VIN sticker and registration information proved to investigators the Chrysler was stolen.

Jones described her relationship with Haggans in an interview with police as a dating relationship, according to court documents. Jones allegedly told investigators Haggans brought the car over to her about three weeks ago and she didn’t know where he got it from.

Haggans in an interview with police allegedly stated the car was given to him as a gift from a friend, but couldn’t tell investigators who gave it to him. Both Jones and Haggans wouldn’t comment on the stolen license plate found in the car, according to court documents.

A search of Haggans later found a bag of marijuana in his undergarments, police said. Haggans’ prior criminal background includes charges of weapons, distribution of drug offenses, theft, counterfeit tags, misuse of vehicle registrations and fugitive from justice offenses, according to police.

Jones and Haggans were both arraigned Monday before District Judge Nicholas E. Englesson. The judge set bail at $ 50,000 for Jones and $ 100,000 for Haggans. In lieu of bail, both were taken to Northampton County Prison.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at [email protected].

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