BCSO makes quot;speedyquot; arrest at interstate rest stop

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2000

An undercover sting operation set up by the Butler County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the Conecuh County Sheriff's Office has landed a Prattville man in the Butler County jail on a series of charges that, if convicted, will subject the individual to 10 or more years in the state penitentiary.

BCSO Chief Deputy Kenny Harden said his office received a call

on July 1 from Conecuh County Sheriff Tracy Hawsey for assistance with an undercover operation his department had been working on for some time.

Harden said Hawsey told the BCSO that he had set up a drug buy from a suspected dealer from Prattville, but that he could not convince the individual to travel from Prattville, where he lived, to Conecuh County.

BCSO officials agreed to participate in the sting operation, and the undercover buy was set up to take place at the south-bound rest stop on Interstate 65 just north of Greenville.

Harden said the suspect appeared at the rest stop at 5:25 p.m., and parked next to a van which Harden said was "full of deputies" from both Butler and Conecuh counties. Upon identification of the suspect by the Conecuh County authorities, the suspect was imediately arrested.

Harden said 31-year-old Herbert Ellis Hoff Jr., of County Road 59 in Prattville, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking, a class B felony which carries a mandatory three year prison sentence upon conviction. Hoff was also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, another felony which carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence upon conviction, and attempted distribution of a controlled substance which is punishable by two to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Hoff was placed in the Butler County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Holds were also placed on Hoff for charges he faces in Conecuh County in the event he makes bond.

Harden said more than 40 grams of crystal methamphedimine, a type of speed also known as "crank," was found in Hoff's possession at the time of his arrest. He said the estimated value of the drugs is $2,800. Harden said Hoff is a truck driver employed by High Ridge Transportation of Highland Home.