Court issues warrant for meth suspect

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 suspects each face felony drug manufacturing charges

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Bella Vista, Ark., man -- one of five suspects accused of manufacturing meth in Washburn -- because he failed to appear at a disposition hearing.

Jeremiah Brown, 31, posted a $25,000 surety bond in mid-March. After missing his disposition hearing with Judge Robert Foulke, a warrant was issued and Brown has a bond forfeiture hearing April 28.

The Barry County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has charged Brown; Samantha Chesner, 19, of Bentonville, Ark.; Jessica George, 25, of Seligman; Bradley Hufford Jr., 35, of Washburn; and Brandi Lackey, 23, of Bentonville, with manufacturing a controlled substance, all class B felonies. The office also charged Lackey with possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony.

On March 10, the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force assisted the Barry County Sheriff's Office with a search warrant at Hufford's Washburn residence, located at 519 Old Wire Road, according to a probable cause affidavit by John Luckey, director of the drug task force. The five suspects had been inside the house for three hours before they came out.

"We then began a search of the residence and perimeter of the property," Luckey said in the affidavit. "We located a five-gallon bucket next to the house filled with burned pseudoephedrine blister packs, cut lithium batteries with the lithium metal removed, and the remainder of the bucket was filled with plastic and granular substance that smelled of ammonia that I recognized to be leftover residue from the shake and bake method of methamphetamine manufacture."

According to the affidavit, law enforcement also found three used syringes outside the garage and two hydrogen chloride acid generators that were still producing gas, two partial bottle of lye, two empty cans of lighter fluid, three used syringes, one strip of aluminum foil with burned residue, empty four-pack of lithium batteries, silver spoon with residue, one empty cold compress bag with the ammonium nitrate removed, metal cutting tool and one AAA lithium battery inside the garage.

In the house, law enforcement located one cold compress bag still containing ammonium nitrate, empty four-pack of lithium batteries, used syringe, letter addressed to Hufford and cut plastic bottle top used as a funnel with two napkins inside, according to the affidavit. In a black Pontiac vehicle, law enforcement located two syringes with one containing a clear liquid.

"On Brandi Lackey's person, we located three glass meth pipes with burned residue that field tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine, one white pill and three syringes including one 1 CC syringe contained 70 units of dark liquid," Luckey said.

After Lackey began showing signs of drug overdose, an ambulance transported her to the Cassville hospital and then to a Springfield hospital, according to the affidavit.

"She stated that she took everything she had so she would not be caught in possession of controlled substances, including morphine," Luckey said.

On March 12, Lackey's grandfather told Robert Evenson, Barry County detective, that "Lackey had left the Springfield hospital with an IV still in her arm," Luckey said.

On March 28, Lackey was arrested in Washington County, Ark. On Thursday, Lackey posted a $25,000 surety bond in Barry County. Her arraignment is Tuesday with Foulke.

On March 12, Brown, Chesner, George and Hufford pleaded not guilty at their arraignments. Hufford posted a $25,000 own recognizance bond on March 26, and George posted a $25,000 surety bond on March 30. Chesner remains in Barry County Jail with bond set at $25,000.

Clate Baker, a Springfield attorney who is representing Chesner, filed a motion for bond reduction, according to court documents. Chesner has a preliminary hearing April 22.

On April 1, Shara Martin, a Monett attorney, made a motion to withdraw as George's attorney since George had the ability to bond out of jail, making her presumptively ineligible for Public Defender services, said Martin in her motion. On Thursday, Foulke granted Martin's request.

Attorney Robert Torp represents Hufford, who has a June 15 arraignment with Judge Jack Goodman.

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