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CHARLESTON -- One of two men suspected of planning to sell marijuana also faces a weapons charge after their arrest following an incident during which police say another person was shot.

Braxton J. Johnson, 22, reportedly had a handgun at the time of the arrests on Monday and was charged with armed violence as well as possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

The other suspect, Brandon L. Hightower, also 22, was the driver of the vehicle in which the two men were reportedly found along with about 2 1/3 pounds of marijuana and is charged with an intent to deliver offense.

Court records list an address of 1436 10th St. Apt. C for Johnson, though police said he formerly lived in Chicago. Hightower's address on record is in Danville but police indicated he lives in Charleston.

No charges are yet on file in connection with the reported shooting and a decision on that is pending, Coles County State's Attorney Brian Bower said on Wednesday.

Bower wouldn't say whether Johnson, Hightower or another person might be suspected of the shooting and cited the ongoing investigation of the incident.

When they announced Johnson's and Hightower's arrests, Charleston police said the victim was taken to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center with a non-life threatening injury and was later released.

Records in the two suspects' case say police responded to the report of shots fired near the Family Video store at 909 Lincoln Ave. and the vehicle Hightower was driving was sighted in the area.

After the vehicle was stopped, a strong odor of marijuana led police to ask Hightower if he had marijuana and he gave them three bags with a total of about one-third ounce of marijuana, the records say.

During the search of the vehicle that followed, 30 more bags with marijuana were found, most in a duffle bag that contained just more than two pounds, according to the case records.

Johnson was found in possession of a 9 mm handgun and two bags with about an ounce of marijuana total, the records also say.

The armed violence charge against Johnson alleges he was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time he committed another crime, possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

A conviction for that offense would require a prison sentence of 15 to 30 years.

The possession with intent to deliver charges against each man could bring a prison sentence of three to seven years, though prison time isn't required for that offense.

Johnson and Hightower remained jailed with bond conditions including release only to a treatment program. Johnson's bond is set at a level requiring $25,000 for release and Hightower's bond level is $10,000.

During court appearances earlier this week, Public Defender Anthony Ortega was appointed to represent Johnson and Hightower said he plans to hire an attorney. Both men were scheduled for hearings on Monday.


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