Routine patrols find meth activity

Published 3:59 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two separate incidents of suspected methamphetamine activity were discovered during routine patrol activity says Donnie Saucier, chief investigator for the Sheriff’s Department.

The first incident was the result of a safety checkpoint conducted on Jan. 8, where deputies saw a vehicle make a U-turn in the street, prompting them to believe the driver was avoiding the checkpoint, the chief investigator said.

Deputy Ryan Byrd then stopped the vehicle, finding 29 year-old Bridget Ann Garcia of 570 Beach Rd., Poplarville behind the wheel and 20 year-old Jimmy Lee Catchings of 40292 Highway 38, Mt. Hermon, La. in the passenger seat, Saucier said.

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Byrd asked Garcia whether there were any illegal items in the vehicle, to which Garcia said no, so the deputy asked for consent to search the vehicle, which was declined the chief investigator said. Byrd then called K-9 officer Ashley Lambert to come to the scene, where the K-9 offer’s dog sniffed the  air all around of the vehicle, Saucier said. When Lambert’s dog alerted to the possible presence of narcotics in the vehicle, officers had probable cause to search the vehicle without consent, Saucier said.

During the search, officers found a small bag containing five Xanax pills and two bags in a compartment that contained 70 sealed pseudoephedrine pills, Saucier said. Further investigation by Sgt. Justin Farmer learned the pills allegedly were going to be sold to another individual to manufacture methamphetamine, Saucier said.

He said both suspects were charged with misdemeanor possession of Xanax and possession of a schedule III substance for the pseudoephedrine.

A second incident took place on Jan. 13, when Detective Joe Garcia stopped a vehicle for an expired tag, the chief investigator said. Saucier said that during the stop, Garcia identified the driver as 29 year-old Katerine Fields of 33 Bob Tail Trail and the passenger as 33 year-old Jonathan Stockstill of 133 American Way, Carriere. During the identification process Garcia learned that the two may have been involved in the production of methamphetamine in the past, prompting him to ask for consent to search the vehicle, Saucier said.

After consent was given, Garcia found two boxes of pseudoephedrine in the vehicle along with a box of lithium batteries, both items commonly used in the production of methamphetamine, the chief investigator said. Saucier said continued investigation discovered that allegedly the items were going to be used in the production of the drug. Both were charged with possession of precursor chemicals, he said.