By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A drug problem that infects all levels of society made itself manifest locally again over the past week, as Atmore police officers and state drug agents each made a local arrest for possession of an illegal substance.
Charges against three other individuals who were involved in a stolen vehicle incident (see story, this edition) also included drug possession.
And it’s not just locals who are being caught with illicit substances. City patrol officers and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Region A Drug Task Force agents each took an out-of-towner into custody over the past seven days.
A majority of the cases made recently evolved from everyday traffic stops for obvious violations.
APD Chief Chuck Brooks said an APD patrol officer came up with a felony drug arrest December 16 after pulling over a vehicle that didn’t have a tag.
“An officer spotted a vehicle that was traveling east on Woods Road, with no tag,” he explained. “After he was stopped, it was determined that he had an outstanding APD warrant against him.”
A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of “a glass pipe with a white, crystal-like residue on it and a small baggie that contained a green, leafy substance.” The residue tested positive for methamphetamine, as did a half-gram of powder that was found in a baggie.
The driver, 31-year-old Brandon Ryan Taylor of Eight Mile, was initially charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree possession of marijuana. The marijuana charge was reportedly upgraded to first-degree after it was discovered that Taylor had a previous conviction for second-degree pot possession.
Escambia County Detention Center (ECDC) records show the Mobile County man was freed on bond December 20.
The next day, December 17, state drug agents arrested Kevin Lonnie Case, 39, of Castleberry on several charges, including possession of a hallucinogenic Mexican herb.
Details of the state agency’s arrest were unavailable at Tuesday’s press deadline, but ECDC records show that Case is charged with two counts of possession of an unspecified controlled substance and one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree possession of Salvia.
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse website, Salvia is an herb that is most predominant in southern Mexico. Its effects usually don’t last longer than 30 minutes but include intense hallucinations when chewed, brewed in tea or smoked in a cigarette or pipe.
Case was released on bond December 20.