By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said this week that his agency’s recent spate of felony drug arrests is not the result of some recently launched crackdown on those who buy, sell and possess substances controlled under law. Neither has it anything to do with cases that were made when the COVID-19 pandemic kept the county jail closed to non-violent criminals.
“These are all current cases, none of them from the time the jail wasn’t taking folks on drug charges,” Brooks said of the recent arrests, which have involved methamphetamine, marijuana, synthetic marijuana and more. “I can’t say why it’s happening all of a sudden. It’s just like anything else, things happen.”
The chief did point out that APD’s younger officers have begun to mature and gain an awareness of when controlled substances might be involved in an incident.
“Most of the recent arrests have been the result of traffic stops,” he explained. “Whenever our officers conduct a traffic stop, it’s an investigation. If they find illegal substances in a vehicle, they’re going to make drug cases.”
Other cases have evolved from police involvement in other situations, like the arrests of two people on felony possession charges after officers were sent to try and mediate a domestic dispute at a local residence. (See story, this edition.)
Arrest and outstanding warrants
But it was a traffic stop that landed Atmore resident Tracy Lynn McGhee in the county jail on past and present drug charges.
According to Atmore police reports, McGhee was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped near Woods Road after APD patrol officers observed the vehicle “traveling erratically, crossing the center line” of Alabama 21.
The driver was apparently not arrested, but a check of McGhee’s ID showed she was the subject of outstanding county warrants for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was out on bond from those charges, but her bond had been revoked.
Things got worse for the Atmore woman when officers discovered two baggies that contained “crystal rocks and powder” and field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
The meth was located “outside the car, on the passenger side, within an arm’s reach” of McGhee, and she was charged with distribution of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. Officers also discovered an unspecified amount of marijuana in her possession, and an additional charge of second-degree possession of the illegal weed was filed.
A new bond of $100,000 was set on the charges lodged by city police. McGhee remained in the Escambia County Detention Center Tuesday morning (August 10).
Still another arrest
Details were not immediately available, but the county jail’s website indicates that an Atmore man, 35-year-old Ricco Leshawd Brooks, was arrested Monday (August 9), also by Atmore police, for felony possession of a controlled substance.
According to an employee of the county jail’s booking and release division, Brooks remained in the facility Tuesday morning, pending a bond hearing. He is also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and attempting to elude officers, both misdemeanors.