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Marijuana found during several drug busts last week

Published 12:48pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Agents seized several pounds of marijuana and eradicated several marijuana growing locations last week.

Smith
Smith

Drug agents responded to a call Aug. 4 from hunters checking food plots on a hunting lease in Hartselle. Agents located 15 marijuana plants growing on the property. Several leads have developed in the ongoing investigation.

Deputies stopped a vehicle on U.S. 231 in Lacey’s Spring Aug. 5 and discovered marijuana and drug sale paraphernalia in the vehicle. The driver, Jonathan Bennett of Huntsville, has prior marijuana convictions. Drug agents recovered almost four pounds of high-grade marijuana, several ounces of marijuana hash, scales and extra baggies in his vehicle. In addition to the drugs, over $800 in cash was seized along with Bennett’s vehicle. He was taken to the Morgan County Jail and held on a $5,000 bond.

O'Neil
O’Neil

Cullman County investigators located marijuana growing on Voyles Road in Eva

Thursday. Cullman County officers had followed a theft suspect, identified as Christopher Wayne Dutton, into Morgan County, but he fled into the woods when they tried to apprehend him. A Morgan County K-9 was called in to track the suspect, but the K-9 lost the trail in a thunderstorm.

Agents found marijuana plants while looking for the suspect. Morgan County Drug Task Force Agents secured a search warrant for the property owned by Richard Victor Bates.

While agents were waiting for the search warrant, a vehicle pulled into the driveway and then tried to leave. Deputies followed the vehicle thinking it may have been the theft suspect. The

Bates
Bates

driver led deputies on a high-speed chase that resulted in the driver wrecking his car. Deputies arrested the driver, Dustin Smith, charged him with an outstanding warrant for trafficking methamphetamine, attempting to elude and several other traffic offenses.

Agents located seven marijuana plants along with a small amount of methamphetamine. Agents also seized several guns from Bates and found a stolen vehicle from Etowah County on his property. Bates was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana first and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Agents also charged a female, Amy O’Neil, with unlawful possession of a controlled substance

Bennett
Bennett

(methamphetamine).

Bates will most likely face additional charges related to the guns and stolen vehicle. Both subjects were taken to Morgan County Jail with a $100,000 bond for Bates and a $50,000 bond for O’Neil.

The theft suspect is still at large and investigation is ongoing.

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