Traffic stop leads to drug arrest
By By Suzanne Digmon Staff Reporter
Atmore Police Department officers made a traffic stop at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday that led to the discovery of precursor items used in the illegal manufacturing of crystal methamphetamines and the arrests of two suspects now is custody in the Escambia county jail.
Further investigation by the APD and the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force led to the discovery of 8 gallons of anhydrous ammonia as well as an unknown amount of lithium batteries and pseudo ephedrine tablets found in a wooded area off Railroad St. in Nokomis. These items were consistent with the manufacturing of crystal methamphetamines.
In reference to the dangerous nature of the chemicals found, DEA named the area a hazardous clean-up site and then Harbor Ferguson, a cleanup crew from Spanish Fort, was dispatched to the scene and took possession of the items. "It is very flammable and very poisonous," Keith Hutchins, spokesman for the Drug Task Force, said regarding the anhydrous ammonia.
Lewis Joseph Jackson, 34, of Perdido, and Steve Craig Tutton, 39, of Bay Minette, were each charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of anhydrous ammonia. They are being held in the Escambia county jail under a $50,000 bond each.
The case is currently under investigation by the state, but could go to federal charges. "The feds are handling a lot of our meth lab cases now," Hutchins said.
The 21st Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force is comprised of the following law enforcement agencies: Escambia County Sheriff's Department, Atmore Police Department, East Brewton Police Department, Brewton Police Department, Flomaton Police Department, Escambia County District Attorney's Office and the Escambia County Commission.
The Task Force receives 75% of its funding from a grant by the Bureau of Justice Affairs Division of the United States Department of Justice which is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The remainder of the funding is provided by the Escambia County Sheriff's Department, Atmore Police Department, Brewton Police Department and the Escambia County District Attorney's Office.