Drug task force seizes 49 pounds of marijuana

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An estimated 49 pounds of marijuana was seized Tuesday and one person arrested after Jefferson County authorities received information about possible narcotics activity from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The marijuana, which was shipped in four boxes and delivered by UPS to an abandoned house, had an estimated street value of $49,000.

The tip came because of Jefferson County’s designation as part of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the DEA.

Tri-County Drug Task Force investigators were notified about the tip and set up surveillance at 405 W 19th Ave. and saw the UPS driver exit his vehicle, knock on a door under the carport, then drop off four large cardboard boxes under the carport before leaving.

A short time later, Rudy Withers, 40, was seen going under the carport and looking in the boxes, then making calls on his cellphone.

Investigators moved in and after determining that misdemeanor warrants for his arrest had been filed, he was taken into custody; Withers and the four boxes were taken to the sheriff’s office. After obtaining a search warrant, the boxes were opened and the suspected marijuana was found.

A second search warrant was served on Withers residence at 1917 S Olive St., where a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana and a glass smoking pipe with a crystal-like substance were found in a bedroom. Three clear plastic bags containing a crystal-like substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine were found on the headboard of a bed, along with Withers’ identification inside a wallet.

Thursday morning, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $5,000 bond for Withers after ruling prosecutor’s have probable cause to charge him with possession of a controlled substances with purpose to deliver marijuana, possession of a controlled substance methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The suspected drugs will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for analysis.

Additionally, Withers could face enhanced penalties because the residence is without 1,000 feet of Bethany Chapel Missionary Church at 1923 S. Olive St.

By: Ray King, PB Commercial

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