Cops net 85 lbs. of marijuana in stops on I-30
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

January 23, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs police officers netted six felony arrests from traffic stops which yielded about 85 pounds of marijuana, 30 vials of testosterone steroids, a small quantity of methamphetamine ice and a stolen vehicle over the weekend.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Deputies Tony Crouse and Dustin Estes also made three drug-related arrests at a Bellview Street residence Saturday, while Tactical Narcotics Team Task Force officers arrested a New York woman for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

The first arrest by police was made at 11:20 p.m. Friday by Sgt. Buddy Williams and Texarkana, Ark., Police canine handler and Interdiction Officer Lloyd Douglas who was riding with Williams over the weekend observing interdiction procedures as part of his training for the Arkansas department's new canine interdiction program.

Williams and Douglas stopped Shamilia Jeree Key, 20, of Omaha, for traffic violations Friday night on Interstate 30 east at the 122 mile marker. Williams brought in his canine partner, Timmie, to search the vehicle for illegal substances after Key refused to allow the officers to search the car. Timmie gave a positive alert on the vehicle's trunk, where officers found 171�2 pounds of marijuana the woman was attempting to transport to Lone Star, according to Williams.

Key was charged with third-degree felony possession of more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana and was released Saturday from the county jail after posting $2,000 bond on the charge, according to jail reports.

The second and third arrests were made by SSPD Cpl. Jason Ricketson, who stopped a Ford Mustang just after midnight Sunday at the 115 mile marker for speeding. The driver, a 30-year-old Springdale, Ark., woman, and passenger, a 39-year-old Conway, Ark., man, were both arrested for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance after Cpl. Ricketson found about 30 vials of testosterone steroids thought to have been picked up in Mexico.

They were both released from the county jail later Sunday after posting $2,000 bond each on the class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge, jail records state.

Sunday night, Ricketson stopped Willie Sonley III, 25, of Memphis, Tenn., for failure to maintain a single lane of travel in a vehicle with Tennessee plates at the 121 mile marker on the interstate.

When Sonley refused to allow Ricketson to search the car, the officer brought in his canine partner Sony to search around the vehicle. Sony gave a positive alert on the trunk where 15.3 pounds of marijuana were located in a vacuum sealed card-board Sony Stereo box.

Sonley was charged with possession of more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana, a third-degree felony offense. Ricketson was assisted in the stop by Cumby Police Officer Kyle Meeks.

While Ricketson was booking Sonley into the county jail, Sgt. Williams stopped a Chevrolet Lumina with Tennessee plates for a traffic violation at the 117 mile marker. The driver, 22-year-old David Fernandez Jr. of Houston, gave Williams permission to search the car, where he found 521�2 pounds of marijuana in a speaker box in the trunk.

Fernandez was charged with possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana, a first-degree felony offense.

As Williams was booking Fernandez into the county jail, Ricketson engaged in a high speed pursuit of a car reported to have been stolen in Arlington. The chase started at the 113 mile marker on the interstate at 2:24 a.m. Monday after an attempt by officers to stop the vehicle for expired registration failed. The pursuit ended at 2:37 a.m. where Ricketson arrested Shur One Dwayne Burks, 17, of Arlington with felony evading.

Sulphur Springs Police Officers Jason Walton and Reserve Officer Chris Rosamond were also credited with arresting Justin Wayne Andrews, 17, of Sulphur Springs in the 500 block of Main Street for driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance.

Andrews was found asleep in the flower bed of Family Dollar behind the wheel of a white 1997 model Nissan, which was still running and in "drive." Officers attempted to have him perform field sobriety tests, but he was "too intoxicated to perform them." A search of the vehicle turned up a white crystal-like substance believed to be "ice" methamphetamine.

Sulphur Springs police officers weren't the only ones credited with making drug-related arrests over the weekend.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Deputies Tony Crouse and Dustin Estes arrested Tamara Leigh Wilson Gatlin, 31, of Como at 12:22 p.m. Saturday on Bellview Street on a felony warrant for possession of a controlled substance. After smelling burned marijuana coming from the residence, they gained permission to search inside where more than four ounces of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were discovered. Roman Trent Daniel, 27, of Sulphur Springs was charged with felony possession of marijuana and a 27-year-old Sulphur Springs man was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Tactical Narcotics Team Task Force Officer Harold McClure arrested a 22-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., woman late Sunday at the 115 mile marker for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The woman was reportedly very upset and nervous after being stopped for traffic violations and refused to allow the officer to search her vehicle. McClure brought in his canine partner Arron, who gave a positive alert on a search of the vehicle where the marijuana was found.

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