BCSO has busy week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2001

In two separate cases officers of the Butler County Sheriff's Office placed three suspects in jail for illegal drug activity.

On Tuesday, deputies harvested marijuana plants near McKenzie, and on Wednesday, following a search warrant, the lawmen recovered a large quantity of marijuana and a quantity of powdered cocaine.

"We had been receiving information for several months reporting illegal drug activity in the area of a residence in the Brooks community, south of McKenzie," said Chief Deputy Kenny Harden. "After a more specific tip, we contacted the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI), requesting that they send their Marijuana Eradication helicopter team to perform a fly-over in the area."

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Harden said that after the helicopter had flown over the area, the state officers confirmed that marijuana plants were being cultivated there.

"We went down to the area, and located nine marijuana plants being grown within 300 yards of the residence where Donald Horton lives," Harden said. "Horton, 54 years old, gave us consent to search his premises n as a result of that search, we recovered marijuana in the residence.

Horton admitted to fertilizing and hoeing the marijuana plants the day before we found them," Harden said. "He said he smoked marijuana for medicinal purposes."

Horton was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, second degree and taken to the Butler County Jail.

The following day, a search warrant was executed, and two suspects were jailed.

"As a result of joint investigative efforts between us and the Georgiana Police Department, we developed enough information to obtain a search warrant at 1744 West Mill St.," Harden said. "During the search of the residence, we located 16 plastic bags containing a large quantity of green plant material believed to be marijuana, weighing approximately six ounces, and three plastic bags containing a white powder substance believed to be cocaine, weighing approximately three grams."

Harden also said a medicine bottle, with the label scratched off, was recovered, and it contained 12 pills.

"Other evidence recovered, all containing drug residue, included two spoons, one knife, two plastic straws, one crack pipe, a metal pan containing green plant material, a box of plastic bags, $110 in U.S. currency, including the marked money we sent in for an undercover buy, and a road construction barrel marked Butler County'," Harden said.

Harden said field tests confirmed the materials to be marijuana and cocaine.

"We arrested Christopher Lee Owens, 26, and charged him on two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, first degree and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia," Sheriff Diane Harris said. "We also arrested Owens' mother, Peggy Sue Owens, 47, for unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana, first degree."

Harris said the arrests came as a cooperative effort of several agencies, and proves that law enforcement can be effective in Butler County, using the three major agencies.

"We were assisted during the execution of the search warrant by officers from the Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC), Georgiana Police Department, and Greenville Police Department," Harris said.

She said a lesson had been learned by this case.

"This goes to show that with all three agencies in Butler County cooperating, we can continue to eliminate illegal drugs in this county, without the Second Judicial Drug Task Force," Harris said.