An Atmore police detective who witnessed a traffic offense that resulted in a drug arrest here last week was also at the forefront of a concentrated task force that a day earlier had interrupted an apparent drug drop-off at Barnett Crossroads.
In the most recent incident, which occurred around 8:30 p.m. on January 26, Atmore Police Department Investigator Ken Sessions was in his car, near the intersection of Nashville Avenue and Main Street, when he saw a Chrysler 200 turn right onto East Nashville and into the oncoming traffic lane.
According to police reports, Sessions followed the vehicle as the city street turned into U.S. 31. Reports show that the driver — later identified as Malcolm Ross Pettis, 59, of Brewton — “began to swerve and crossed the center line.”
Sessions activated his lights and pulled the Chrysler over near Atmore Municipal Airport around 8:38 p.m. Reports show that Pettis and an unidentified passenger “acted abnormally” and “seemed nervous” as the officer questioned them.
Pettis reportedly granted consent to a search of the vehicle, which turned up an unspecified item used for illegally ingesting drugs, and an undisclosed quantity of a substance believed to be methamphetamine was found on his person.
The Brewton man was charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Escambia County Detention Center and was released later that night after posting a $5,000 bond.
In the previous day’s incident at Barnett Crossroads, Sessions — part of a federal-state anti-drug squad — handcuffed 32-year-old Christopher Brandon Williams after a multitude of agents, staked out in the area of the Jet Pep on Alabama 113, near Interstate 65, swooped in and canceled the business transaction around 8 a.m. on January 25.
Williams remained in the county jail this week, under a $250,000 bond on a charge of attempting to commit a controlled substance crime. The type of drug involved was not disclosed.
Sessions is a member of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Region 7-Group A Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of an APD investigator, two investigators from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and an investigator from the Jackson Police Department. APD Chief Chuck Brooks and Monroe County Sheriff Thomas Tate are on the regional task force’s board of directors.
The operation that resulted in the arrest also included agents from the Birmingham and Mobile offices of Homeland Security Investigations, along with ALEA’s SWAT team and Motor Carrier unit officers and soldiers of the Alabama National Guard’s Counter Drug Program.
“The officers of the Region 7 Drug Enforcement Task Force usually conduct small-scale surveillance, and sometimes large-scale surveillance,” explained Samantha Bennett, who is administrator for the regional law enforcement unit. “Apparently, somebody dropped a dime (reported the planned transaction’s details) somewhere, and they called in the other agencies.”