2 arrested for meth near Shoal Creek

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pair faces drug, child endangerment charges, still being held

A man and a woman allegedly living out of their vehicle were arrested recently near Shoal Creek in Pioneer after being found with methamphetamine in the car.

James Yoshimoto, 26, of Cassville, and Tabitha Gregory, 28, of Seligman have each been charged with possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child, all class C felonies. Yoshimoto also had a warrant for his arrest out of Barry County for a probation violation for possession, and Gregory has a warrant out of the Seligman Police Department.

According to a report by Sgt. Justin Ruark, with the Barry County Sheriff's Office, a tip was received about a family possibly living on the bank of the creek for around a month or longer, and the property owner wished for them to be removed.

After arriving on the scene at the intersection of State Highway T and Farm Road 2065, the report states Ruark found a grey Toyota containing Yoshimoto, Gregory and a small child. The vehicle, parked only a few feet away from a fast-flowing creek, was packed so full with the two's belongings there was hardly any room for the girl or her car seat, neither of which were strapped in.

The report states Yoshimoto was passed out in the driver's seat, and Gregory was laying down in the passenger seat across the center console.

Ruark said when he approached the vehicle, he noticed a small black bag, which was unzipped and contained multiple syringes, along with two plastic baggies with a white substance that later tested positive as methamphetamine.

"The child was in very close reach of this black bag and the strings, since they were out in the open," the report stated.

Ruark then woke up Yoshimoto and asked him to exit the vehicle to place him under arrest, noting that he was acting very unstable, gagging like he was going to vomit, not making sense when speaking and having convulsions.

The young girl in the car was released to her grandmother.

Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff, said he was glad the deputies found the family, as he said recent rains were causing Shoal Creek to rise and could have swept away the car with the three inside of it.

Yoshimoto is being held in the Barry County jail on a $50,000 bond, and Gregory is also being held in the jail, on a $50,182 bond.

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