Suspected meth dealer nabbed

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Officer Adam Johnson, left, and officer Jeremy Conn, right, conduct a search as Lester Barnes looks on.

An Atmore father and son are in jail on drug related charges today following an investigation by the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force that lasted over a month and ended with one less suspected meth dealer on the streets.

Lester Knight and his father Lester Barnes were arrested Monday afternoon in separate instances as task force officers followed up on leads obtained during undercover work conducted over the last month.  Officers said they were able to purchase methamphetamines from Knight at Barnes’ home at 115 Cruit Drive. Although Barnes claimed to have no knowledge of the drug deals, officers reported videotaping the encounter and said he was present at the scene.

Knight was arrested early Monday afternoon and charged with possession and distribution of a controlled substance after officers executed a search warrant at McRrae Apartments that turned up the bills used by undercover agents during the drug deal.
Escambia County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Greg Forbes said undercover work was also done in that location.

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“The drug task force did some narcotics buys from this residence,” he said. “They served the search warrant and the sheriff’s office has assisted them with that search.”

In an effort to also uncover the remainder of the methamphetamine, task force officers returned to Barnes’ home where he consented to a search of his property. Officers on the scene were able to immediately identify marijuana growing in plain sight in Barnes’ back yard. Barnes was charged with possession of a controlled substance, (marijuana) in the first degree as well as manufacturing of a controlled substance.

Task force Investigator Adam Johnson said the arrests were the product of a lengthy investigation that ended with felony charges.

“We took (Knight) into custody,” Johnson said. “We received other information that lead us here to Cruit Street where we found marijuana growing in plain view. This was the result of an ongoing investigation.”

Both men were transported to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton.