The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has launched a new program using the rules of probation as a tool in combating the drug problem.
Sheriff Patrick Ray says this new program involves people who have been sentenced in crimes and then placed on misdemeanor or felony probation. "When a Judge sentences a person to probation in lieu of jail time, the defendant gives up a constitutional right making him subject to a law enforcement search of his person, residence, or vehicles at anytime. Law enforcement may search a defendant's home, person, or vehicle without a search warrant. If the defendant refuses the search, the probation officer then may violate his probation. The defendant, once given a form detailing the rules of probation, must sign and date the form accepting the terms."
" We as law enforcement can use the rules of probation as a tool to help us battle the illegal sale and possession of narcotics and even use it to help us work burglary cases. Although some types of probation have no requirements in order to conduct a search, I do require my department to have at least suspicion that the defendant is doing some kind of illegal activity before we do the search. For the last two weeks, my department and I, along with a State of Tennessee Probation and Parole Officer have made home visits to ten defendants who are on parole or probation in DeKalb County. Out of the ten defendants, six either failed drug screens, were in possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia, or did not live at the address that they provided to the probation officer. In one case, we were able to seize more than $6,700 that was used in the illegal sales of narcotics here in the county".
"We want the public to know that if someone is sentenced to probation or parole, my department and I are going to do everything possible to see that these defendants are living up to their requirements of probation. With the state cutting money from the Tennessee Department of Corrections, we anticipate that out of the more than 4,000 inmates expected to be released, some will live here in DeKalb County. As Sheriff, I want some kind of assurance that these people will live by their requirements of parole. If the defendant refuses to live by those requirements, my department and I will do everything possible to place these defendants back into custody and out of harms way."
Meanwhile, in this week's crime news, Sheriff Ray says 62 year old Walter "Tiny" Pedigo was charged last Monday, November 16th with possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone) after a search was conducted at his residence which is located on Gentry Avenue, Smithville. Detectives found in the front pocket of Pedigo's pants, a prescription bottle that was issued in someone else's name. In the bottle were five Hydrocodone pills. Bond for Pedigo was set at $1,500 and he will appear in General Session's court on December 3rd.
47 year old Berna Dean Barnes of New Home Road Smithville was charged Monday, November 16th with possession of drug paraphernalia after a search was conducted at her residence. A safe was found under her bed that contained used hypodermic needles and straws that were individually packed into sandwich bags. Hypodermic needles, both new and used, were also found throughout her bedroom. Bond for Barnes was set at $1,000 and she will appear in General Session's court on December 3rd.
Barnes was arrested again on Friday, November 20th after a deputy saw her driving on Patterson Road in Smithville. The officer says Barnes' vehicle was weaving before she drove it into a ditch and then hit a mailbox. Barnes was stopped and she submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. Barnes refused to take a blood alcohol and/or drug test but did admit to the deputy that she was taking Hydrocodone. Barnes was arrested for driving under the influence and also was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. Her bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in General Session's court on December 3rd.
27 year old Joshua Wayne Goff of Mocking Bird Drive, Smithville was stopped by deputies on New Home Road Dowelltown last Monday, November 16th for a traffic violation. A computer check revealed that Goff's driver's license were revoked. Goff was charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in General Session's court on December 3rd.
The Sheriff's Department searched the residence of 35 year old John Charles Deck Jr. of Adcock Cemetery Road Smithville on Wednesday, November 18th. During the search, lawmen found in Deck's bedroom a piece of foil that contained three pills believed to be Oxcodone and a pill bottle under Deck's mattress that contained one and a half pills believed to be Suboxone. Also, found in Deck's bedroom was a bag of hypodermic needles. Deck was charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug, possession of a schedule III drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for Deck was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on December 3rd.
Also on Wednesday, 29 year old Michael Anthony Ellis of Morrison Creek Road, Gainesboro was arrested for theft of property over $1,000. Detectives allege that Ellis worked at a business on Highway 56 North and took three DVD players, an air ratchet, and an air hammer from the business without the owner's consent. Ellis then pawned the items in Cookeville. Bond for Ellis was set at $3,500 and he will appear in General Session's court on December 10th.
Deputies responded to Highway 70 West on Friday, November 20th after two complaints were called into the central dispatch about a vehicle that was driving all over the roadway. After spotting the vehicle and noticing it weaving and driving slow, deputies stopped it and found 26 year old Chasity Lynn Carter of Brush Creek Road, Brush Creek to be the driver. Carter had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. Officers performed field sobriety tasks on Carter which she failed. Carter almost passed out while trying to perform the sobriety tasks. Also found in Carter's possession were fifteen diazepam pills. Carter was charged with driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance for resale. Her bond was set at $16,000 and she will appear in court on December 3rd.
19 year old Michael Joseph Lee was charged Friday with being a fugitive from justice. Lee was charged after a computer check revealed that he was wanted in Joliet Illinois for drug possession, driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license. Lee is being held without bond until his extradition hearing on November 25th in General Sessions Court.
On Sunday, November 22nd deputies arrested 30 year old Jack Mullican Jr. of Johnson's Chapel Road Sparta after he was stopped for a traffic violation. Mullican was found to be driving on a suspended license. He also had warrants against him in a forgery case as a result of a recent investigation by the DeKalb Sheriff's Department. In that case, detectives, on October 18th received a report from a Mullican family member that someone had stolen some blank checks. On October 22nd, Mullican passed one of the checks at a store on Highway 70 West here in DeKalb County. Mullican was charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license, theft of property under $500, and forgery. Bond for Mullican was set at $8,000 and he will appear in General Session's court on November 25th for the driving offense and December 3rd for the other crimes.
Sheriff Ray wants to remind everyone that if you have any information on any crimes such as the sale of illegal drugs or any thefts in DeKalb County, to call the Sheriff's Department's 24 hour crime tip line at 464-6400 or call Sheriff Ray at 597-4935. All calls will be kept confidential.