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Zero tolerance

Felony charges after traffic stops turn up trace amounts of meth


News Staff Writer

Atmore Police Department patrol officers logged three felony drug arrests over the past several days — including one that was actually initiated almost two years ago — each the result of an otherwise routine traffic stop.
As has been the norm, each of the arrests resulted in confiscation of little more than trace amounts of substances for which Alabama law includes “zero tolerance,” making possession of even the tiniest amounts a felony.
A Florida man — issued a summons for drug possession when COVID restrictions limited the inmate intake at the county jail — was formally processed into the facility recently.
APD reports show that Joseph James Shinn, 38, of Pensacola was pulled over by a patrol officer as Shinn drove along Alabama 21 around 11:40 p.m. on November 7, 2020.
According to reports, officers obtained consent to search the vehicle and discovered a glass pipe in Shinn’s clothes. The pipe contained a residue that tested positive for an undisclosed controlled substance, reportedly meth.
Due to COVID restrictions in place at the time, Shinn was not locked up. An arrest warrant was obtained and formally served on him on June 14.
Fugitive with no tag
An Atmore man with a long history of arrests, mostly for drug crimes, had another added to his list shortly before noon June 17, when an APD patrol officer spotted and pulled over a vehicle being operated without a license plate.
The traffic stop occurred around 1:40 p.m. As the officer was checking the driver’s license of 40-year-old Derek Price, who was operating the vehicle, he learned that Price was wanted on outstanding warrants in Mississippi and elsewhere in Alabama.
After Price was detained on the warrants, two hypodermic needles were found in his clothing. Each needle reportedly had a white residue that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
Price was booked into the county lockup on one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and being a fugitive from justice.
Along for the ride
Another routine traffic stop, this one on U.S. 31, turned out OK for the driver but not so OK for a passenger in the vehicle.
According to police reports, 45-year-old Monica Marche Freeman was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person recognized by a patrol officer as the subject of “multiple felony warrants”
Freeman reportedly tossed a sunglasses case into the floorboard when the officer approached. After gaining consent to search the vehicle, the officer opened the sunglasses case and found a glass pipe with a “white, crystal-like” residue that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
She was charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.