By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks confirmed last week that an Atmore man was arrested here March 5 and has been charged with drug trafficking and felony marijuana possession.
Brooks said Timothy Lane America, 41, was taken into custody after he drove his vehicle past a law enforcement officer who recognized America as the subject of an ongoing drug investigation.
“He was driving his truck on (Ala.) Highway 21, and he passed one of our officers,” the police chief said. “He was stopped on South Pensacola Avenue.”
Brooks said Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Drug Task Force agents arrived on the scene, and the suspect was turned over to them. The chief wouldn’t provide more details because the case might wind up being taken to a higher level.
“Usually, when we have a case like this, the feds take it over,” he said. “They don’t like for a lot of information to be released.”
Escambia County Detention Center records show that America remained in jail as this week started. He is being held under a $1 million bond.
No information was revealed as to the type of drug in which America is accused of trafficking. But, under Alabama Code, the felony pot possession charge could have resulted from possession by the suspect of an amount deemed more than for personal use, or it could have arisen from a previous conviction for second-degree pot possession (possession for person use).
First-degree possession of marijuana is a Class C felony, if the charge is based on possession of a quantity that exceeds personal use. If the charge is based on a previous second-degree conviction, it is a Class D felony.
Class C felonies are punishable upon conviction by a minimum prison sentence of at least one year and one day, a maximum sentence of 10 years. Fines can go up to $15,000.
The sentencing range for a Class D felony conviction is: not more than 5 years or less than 1 year and 1 day. If a Class D felony conviction results in a prison sentence, that sentence is served in a community correction facility and cannot be for more than 2 years.