Bomb squad called for device in vehicle

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sheriff's deputies find device after hot pursuit, drug arrest

An explosive device found in a towed vehicle in Cassville resulted in a call to the bomb squad in Bentonville, Ark., on Friday and the subsequent disposal of the suspect box.

According to Sheriff Mick Epperly, the arrest of two subjects on Thursday led to the discovery of the alleged bomb. Reports of a subject driving on the wrong side of the road in the Washburn area led Deputy Alvin Zabala to a suspect vehicle. When the vehicle failed to stop, a pursuit began, concluding on Farm Road 1075 in the Exeter vicinity. Zabala subsequently detained Jeffrey Stout, 35, of Seligman, and his passenger, Sharra Weslin, 34, of Verona.

Stout, who had a revoked license, was charged with resisting arrest by fleeing, creating a substantial risk of serious injury or death to any person, a Class D felony. When Westlin was removed from the vehicle, a clear crystal substance that appeared to be methamphetamine was found on the seat. According to the probable cause statement, at her feet was a container with a scale and clear plastic bags. She was also in

possession of a large amount of money.

The subjects were both subsequently charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Both are held in lieu of $40,000 cash bond in the Barry County Jail in Cassville. The probable cause statement noted that Westlin had previous convictions in Barry County for possession of a controlled substance.

Their vehicle was taken to Brice's Towing in Cassville. While searching the vehicle, Detectives Doug Henry and Rob Evenson discovered a "suspicious looking box" inside that they determined had a fuse. Not taking chances, they called the bomb squad in Bentonville, Ark., an agency used by the department in the past.

"They used a robot to take it out," Epperly said. "It may have been more of a big firecracker than a bomb, but it could have done some damage. I don't know if the suspect intended to hurt someone with it, since it was so close to the Fourth of July. We considered it to be a bomb. The device was taken to a back lot at Brice's and detonated.

"This was not a routine traffic stop. The officers used good judgment and handled the situation properly."

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