CHAMPAIGN — Three men found to have loaded guns on a commercial bus in Champaign on Thursday have been criminally charged.
Eliyah Newson-Smith, 20, of Stockbridge, Ga., Drake Murray, 29, of Chicago and Miquel Myles, 33, of Jonesboro, Ga., were arrested by Illinois State Police who were doing safety sweeps at the downtown Champaign transportation depot Thursday.
Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson said a preliminary report from state police said a trooper encountered a man with a backpack. The trooper asked for permission to search it and the man agreed. The trooper found a loaded gun in the bag.
Carlson said while police were dealing with that man, a second man saw what was going on and put a loaded handgun under his seat on the bus.
Both those men admitted that the guns police had found belonged to them, Carlson said.
State troopers then decided to pull all the luggage off the bus and had everyone identify their respective bags. In one that had not been claimed, police found a third loaded gun which they later learned belonged to a convicted felon from Georgia.
Myles was charged with unlawful use of weapon by a felon for having the gun in the bag that was under the bus.
Murray and Newson-Smith were each charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. One of the counts alleges possession of a loaded gun in a vehicle; the other alleges that the owner did not have a valid firearm owner's identification card.
All three men were taken to the county jail early Thursday evening and were arraigned Friday on the felony counts.