DOUBLE SPRINGS - Multiple agencies converged on a residence in Double Springs Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 6, conducting a drug sweep and finding 8.6 grams of crystal methamphetamine in an attempt to remedy an ongoing problem while arresting four individuals.
“This is a huge, huge win for Double Springs and the county,” pointed out Winston County Sheriff’s Investigator Brad Curtis.
James Christopher Smith, 43, formerly of Anniston, currently of 18448 Highway 278 (where the raid was conducted), was charged with possession with intent to distribute meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of meth;
Daphne Bradley Poague, 45, formerly of Florence, but currently of the same address, was charged with possession with intent to distribute, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia;
Justin Lee Everett Bradley, 24, of the same address, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia;
David Leon Dempsey, 46, of Double Springs, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Curtis.
The raid was conducted by the Winston County Sheriff’s Office and Double Springs Police with a K-9 unit assisting from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office operating under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Drug Task Force.
These agencies assembled Wednesday afternoon as part of an ongoing investigation that stemmed from the fall of 2018, when the sheriff’s office and Double Springs Police conducted a search warrant on Smith at a separate residence in Double Springs on similar charges, Curtis said.
The sheriff’s office and Double Springs Police began receiving more complaints in the beginning of this year regarding Smith and narcotic activity, so a joint investigation began.
“We formulated a plan to where we were able to obtain enough evidence to apply for a search warrant, which was granted by Circuit Judge Lee Carter,” said Curtis.
“After the execution of the search warrant in 2018, we felt we had missed some narcotics so to avoid that this time, we reached out to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force.”
The K-9 handler met authorities with the dog, Pedro, at the sheriff’s office in Double Springs to go over the game plan and prepare to execute the search warrant.
Authorities then converged on the wooden blue painted house just off Highway 278 around 4:15 p.m.
Non-forcible entry was made at the residence since the door was open, so authorities entered to find the four subjects, brought them outside and placed them into separate vehicles.
“The female got our attention, complaining of dizziness and blood pressure problems,” Curtis said.
Lt. Erik Gilbreath of the Double Springs Fire Department was contacted and came on the scene to evaluate the female subject, finding no problems with her vital signs, so she remained detained, according to Curtis.
Law enforcement cleared the residence of any sharp objects, animals and any other persons so the K-9 handler and Pedro could enter the house and conduct a sweep of the residence, Curtis said.
While the dog was searching the house, law enforcement outside searched two vehicles parked in the yard, finding such drug paraphernalia as a meth pipe with residue and a syringe in a black Ford Ranger pickup belonging to Dempsey, authorities said.
No illegal items were found in Smith’s vehicle, a maroon GMC Suburban , they added.
Inside the residence was a different story. Aside from piles of debris and clothing, empty food containers and half-eaten food found through the residence, law enforcement, based on the reactions of Pedro, found several drug-related items in two bedrooms, authorities indicated.
In Bradley’s bedroom at the far right of the residence, authorities found bags and a pipe with residue believed to be meth, Curtis said.
In the master bedroom on the opposite side of the residence and in the master bathroom, law enforcement found several drug-related items, including three bags containing a crystalized substance totaling 8.6 grams believed to be meth, Curtis pointed out.
Also found in that bedroom were a marijuana grinder, straws with residue, dozens of used syringes, bags with residue, Q-tips, meth pipes and scales, according to Curtis.
The 8.6 grams of meth constituted an amount worthy of charging Smith and Poague with attempting to distribute, said Curtis.
“Up to eight grams, the State of Alabama considers that personal use,” Curtis explained.
“Any weight eight grams or higher in regards to meth, the state assumes you are selling the narcotics,” Curtis added.
“It’s no longer deemed personal use due to the fact this crystal substance weighed over eight grams. That is why Smith and Poague are charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute,” he pointed out.
All evidence was documented, photographed and logged into evidence at the sheriff’s office, with the meth being sent for further evaluation and exact weight to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, Curtis said.
All subjects were transported without incident to the Winston County Jail in Double Springs, he added.
Winston County Sheriff Tommy Moore commended all of the agencies involved for a job well done.
“This is another episode in our battle against drugs,” Moore noted.
“Unfortunately, even though we are making drug arrests on a daily basis, drugs are a demon that affects every county across the nation,” Moore added.
“It is a battle we are not going to stop fighting to put a stop to drugs in Winston County.“
Moore was excited to say they have formed a working relationship with every police department in the county.
“Working in cooperation and also with the statewide task force, we intend to keep moving forward with our goal to keep Winston County safe,” Moore pointed out.
Double Springs Police Chief Kim Miller added, “It was a successful search warrant. Nobody got hurt. Drugs were found. People went to jail, and time to do it again.
“Everyone worked well together. It was something we had been working on for a while and it finally developed,” Miller added.
“We prefer that if you are going to be using drugs or selling drugs, you don’t need to be in our county,” he said.
Officers involved in the search warrant and case from the Double Springs Police Department were Miller and patrolmen Heath Lewis, Joey Joyner and Jacob Taylor;
Lawrence County K-9 officer and handler and from the sheriff’s office, investigators Curtis and Caleb Snoddy, Chief Deputy Bryan Kirkpatrick, Deputies Jonathan Oliver and Josh Silas, Work Release Coordinator Brent Porter, reserves Sgt. Horace Moore, Heather Hardy and Chris Franks.
“It was a privilege to get to work with Double Springs Police and Lawrence County,” Curtis said.
“At the end of the day, every police department is trying to tackle the same goal--to protect our productive citizens and lock away the bad ones,” he added.
“We always hope the suspects we come into contact with, learn their lessons and change their ways of life,” Curtis continued. “If you continue to be a habitual offender, you will see us and you will go to jail.”
Curtis also commended the public for speaking out and helping law enforcement and the ADECA Drug Task Force.
*When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.