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Home News Local News Meth surge: Oneida Police Department make multiple arrests in meth trafficking cases

Meth surge: Oneida Police Department make multiple arrests in meth trafficking cases

Last week was a busy week for Oneida Police Department all the way around, with 14 suspects arrested on various criminal charges between April 6 and April 11.

Among them were three separate cases involving the possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of resale, which resulted in the arrests of five people and the seizure of more than 30 grams of the illicit drug.

The three cases were not related to one another.

It all started on Friday, when OPD invested three persons accused of possessing meth for resale following a traffic stop on Alberta Street.

Roy L. Day, 66, of Huntsville; Joseph R. Smithers, 40, of Huntsville; and Crystal M. Gibson, 40, of Oneida were all arrested.

According to warrants, OPD Investigator Toby Jeffers was on patrol on Alberta Street when he passed a Nissan and saw the driver put his hand up as if he was trying to hide his face. Jeffers watched the vehicle pull into the Food Court and park sideways in a parking spot. When Jeffers approached the vehicle, he wrote in the warrants, the driver — later identified as Smithers — put his head between his legs and said that he was sick. Smithers allegedly then stood up and walked around the vehicle, “acting as if he was gagging trying to throw up,” according to the warrant.

As Jeffers spoke to the passengers in the vehicle, Smithers returned with his hands in his pockets, the officer wrote in the warrants. After asking if he could make sure Smithers didn’t have anything illegal on him, Jeffers allegedly found a bag of meth in Smithers’ watch pocket.

As he took Smithers into arrest, Jeffers allegedly noticed Gibson placing something up her shirt. OPD Officer Rachael Thomas had Gibson step out of the vehicle and began to search her, when a bag of meth allegedly fell from her bra.

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Meanwhile, Jeffers asked Day to step out of the vehicle, and allegedly recovered a meth pipe and a small container of meth and empty meth bags from him.

Inside the vehicle, Jeffers allegedly found another meth pipe, while Thomas allegedly located another bag of meth inside Gibson’s bra, along with a Suboxone strip.

All of the bags of meth were packaged for resale purposes, according to the warrants. In all, they totaled 1.18 grams. A total of $519 in cash was also seized as evidence.

All three suspects were charged with possession of meth for resale. Day and Smithers were also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and Smithers was charged with driving on an expired license. Gibson was also charged with possession of Suboxone.

The following day, officers allegedly discovered nearly 20 grams of meth while serving an arrest warrant at a Paint Rock Road residence.

Leonard J. Phillips, 34, was the subject of the warrant, wanted in connection with a domestic assault case that allegedly occurred on March 25.

As Jeffers and OPD Officer Tony Jones arrived at the residence and made contact with Phillips, he allegedly refused to remove his hands from his pockets, despite being told to several times. When Jeffers approached Phillips, the man allegedly turned his back to the officers and threw a large sack into the woods.

Phillips was taken to the ground by Jeffers and placed into handcuffs, after which Jeffers retrieved the thrown item from the woods. It proved to be a bag containing 19.43 grams of meth, according to the warrant.

Meanwhile, Jones allegedly recovered three Suboxone pills in a small bag from Phillips.

Phillips was charged with possession of meth for resale, possession of a Schedule III drug, and tampering with evidence. He is also charged with aggravated domestic assault by strangulation, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a Schedule III drug in relation to the March 25 domestic assault investigation.

Finally, on Sunday an Oneida man was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of meth for resale.

Homer Birchfield, 59, of Oneida, was arrested after being found passed out in a vehicle at the Country Store on Alberta Street during the early morning hours, according to a warrant filed by OPD Officer Kyler King.

Allegedly, Birchfield told King that he was sleeping in the parking lot of the store because he was “just tired.” After getting consent to search Birchfield’s vehicle, King allegedly found three needles and a bag containing nine grams of meth in the center console of the vehicle. A set of digital scales was also recovered from the vehicle.

Birchfield was charged with possession of meth for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. OPD Sgt. Brett Bond assisted at the scene.

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Independent Herald
Contact the Independent Herald at newsroom@ihoneida.com. Follow us on Twitter, @indherald.
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