A late evening traffic stop resulted in the arrest of three people, two of who were charged with drug trafficking.
About 9 p.m. on June 20, Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonas Saunders was patrolling in the Highway 92E and Louden Road area in response to complaints that the sheriff’s department had received of suspected drug activity, according to a sheriff’s department release.
According to an arrest citation, deputies had received reports of a black truck involved in possible drug activity.
Saunders observed a 1997 black Chevrolet pull off the roadway and he turned around to check on the vehicle, he wrote on an arrest citation.
Saunders determined that the driver of the vehicle, William Joseph Fields, had a suspended license, according to the release.
Saunders also observed an open alcoholic beverage container in the vehicle and suspected that Fields was driving under the influence, but he refused tests to determine his potential intoxication level, according to the release.
Saunders was told that Fields was under the influence of prescription drugs, and during the investigation he turned disorderly, the release stated.
When a female passenger, Jerrica L. Mink, stepped out of the vehicle, a pill bottle was observed visibly tucked about her chest area. Another passenger, Michael Wright, told police that the bottle contained marijuana and he claimed ownership of the marijuana, according to the release.
Police found two orange capsules in Mink’s purse that are believed to be Neurontin, according to one of her arrest citations.
A search of the vehicle revealed a black case containing weighing scales, empty baggies, and a straw.
The case was located under the center console, according to an arrest citation.
A fourth person in the truck, Cecil Ray Griffith, was found to have a pill in his possession, the release stated.
Deputies charged Fields, 39, with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth – greater than two grams), first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), second offense DUI, operating on a suspended/revoked license, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle
Mink, 39, was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth – greater than two grams), first-degree possession of a controlled substance (meth), tampering with physical evidence, first-degree promoting contraband, possession of drug paraphernalia and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Griffith, 49, was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
All three were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.
Wright was cited for possession of marijuana.
Prior to leaving the jail, Saunders inspected the rear area of his cruiser, and located an empty Altoids can.
A female deputy jailer, Opelia Felipe, searched Mink and located five small blue plastic baggies containing what’s believed to be crystal methamphetamine, according to an arrest citation.
Those baggies matched the ones found within the vehicle, according to the release.
The baggies contained an estimated four grams total of suspected crystal meth, which is also known as “ice,” according to an arrest citation.
Both Fields and Mink pleaded not guilty to their charges during their arraignment Thursday afternoon in Whitley District Court.
Judge Fred White appointed the public advocate’s office to represent each defendant, and set a $25,000 cash bond for both Mink and Fields. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in their cases for July 3.
Griffith was released from jail on bond about 4 a.m. on June 21.
Sgt. Jeff Anderson and deputies Brian Hensley and Johnny Miller assisted Saunders with the investigation.