JACKSONVILLE, NC - A man wanted for murder in the Atlanta area was found with a gun in his jail cell, and lawmen believe he had that weapon hidden in his rectum when he was booked into jail.
Michael Ward remains in the Onslow County jail after his arrest Monday morning.
Deputies say the gun measures 10 inches, including a 4-1/2 inch barrel.
Deputies tell WITN News that Ward was searched and strip searched before he was placed into a holding cell. Jailers also made Ward perform what they call a "squat and cough" procedure.
Ward will undergo a search again today, as well as a medical evaluation at Onslow Memorial Hospital to make sure that no injury occurred.
Deputies say the gun was not loaded, but later test fired and it was found to be fully operational.
State Trooper Scott Merritt says at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning a car driven by Ward passed him on Highway 17 going more than 90 miles per hour. Merritt teamed up with a Duplin County trooper down the road, and pulled the car over north of Dixon.
The Highway Patrol says Ward rolled up his window and locked the doors when troopers approached the car. They say Ward was in the car with a woman claiming to be his wife, the two both refused to roll down the windows.
After some coercion, the troopers were able to get the door open and had to taze the driver to get him to comply. Ward was then taken to the hospital because he was complaining of heart problems and claimed he was unable to get out of the car because he was disabled, and could not walk. Troopers searched the man at the hospital.
Ward, who gave several false names, was then taken to the Onslow County jail. At this point lawmen say he was thoroughly searched again and put in a cell.
Eventually, jailers discovered the .38 caliber handgun in his cell.
Upon further investigation, investigators found he is wanted for first degree murder and armed robbery in Canton, Georgia. Ward was being held in Onslow County awaiting extradition back to Georgia.
His "wife" also gave a false name.