The Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force has been busy in Barry County lately, arresting six local residents on felony drug charges following the culmination of an undercover investigation.
Task force officials label those who were arrested as "major methamphetamine dealers." The investigation resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine, guns and cash.
Bradley James Holder, 36, and Laura Jean Holder, 36, both of Cassville, have been charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a Class B felony.
Laura Holder pleaded not guilty to the charge during formal arraignment on April 20. Bradley Holder is scheduled to be arraigned in Barry County Associate Court on May 4. Both are currently free on $25,000 bond.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, task force officers conducted a narcotics investigation at the Holder residence at 3006 Main St. in Cassville on April 19. A search of the home led to discovery of a large quantity of a white powdery substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine.
Officers also seized a set of scales, numerous distribution baggies, counter surveillance equipment, four firearms, ammunition and a large bag containing a white powder believed to be a cutting agent.
Also arrested in connection with the investigation were:
- Eric Allen Hirst, 32, of Cassville, who was charged with distribution of a controlled substance.
- Thomas Ponder, 33, of Cassville, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
- Sarah Burwell, 19, of Cassville, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
- Frank Robbins, 45, of Purdy, who was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Hirst was arrested after a confidential informant entered Hirst Muffler Shop in Cassville and allegedly purchased a small plastic bag of methamphetamine from Hirst.
Robbins' arrest came after task force officers conducted a narcotics investigation on April 19 at his residence located at Autumn Woods Apartments in Purdy. A search of the apartment led officers to the discovery of two white pills identified as Lorazepam, which were not prescribed to Robbins. Officers also found a plastic bag and mirror that field tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.
Hirst is currently free on $25,500 bond and scheduled for arraignment in Barry County Associate Circuit Court on May 4. Robbins pleaded not guilty to the charges on April 20. He is free on $15,000 bond.
Ponder and Burwell were arrested on April 19 after task force officers conducted a "knock and talk" investigation at the residence the two share at 202 W. Eighth St. in Cassville.
Ponder gave officers consent to search and several packets of alleged methamphetamine were found in the home along with other drug paraphernalia. Among the items seized were a pill bottle containing a chemical liquid and a white crystalline substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine, a set of digital scales and several other items related to the distribution and consumption of the drug.
Burwell allegedly admitted that she was aware of the illegal items being in the residence.
Both Ponder and Burwell pleaded not guilty to the drug charges in Barry County Associate Circuit Court on April 20 and both are being held in the Barry County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bonds.