Local News Articles

DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Nabs Alleged Cocaine-Meth Dealer

March 7, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Sheriff's Department Tuesday arrested a man described as a \"major cocaine and methamphetamine dealer\" in DeKalb and Warren Counties.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 34 year old Jose Antonio Bautista Morales of 10580 West Green Hill Road, Smithville is charged locally with unlawful possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid), unlawful possession of a schedule III (Hydrocodone), unlawful possession of a schedule IV (Xanax and Valium), possession of a schedule VI (Marijuana), possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Public Intoxication. Total bond is $32,000.00. Morales has a Smithville address but he actually lives in Warren County.

According to Sheriff Ray, \" On the 6th day of March, a Detective with the DeKalb Sheriff's Department stopped a vehicle on 1st Street in Smithville. Upon a search of the vehicle, the Detective found illegal narcotics including Dilaudid, Xanax, Valium, Marijuana, and Hydrocodone. Also found was drug paraphernalia and $1,765 in cash believed to be from the sale of illegal narcotics.\"

Sheriff Ray says \"Morales has been a major cocaine and methamphetamine dealer here in DeKalb and Warren Counties for sometime. Both departments have been working in cooperation with each other and we finally got the break we needed.\"

Warren county authorities were contacted about the DeKalb County traffic stop and a search warrant was executed on Morales' home in Warren County. The search netted approximately one ounce of cocaine, approximately one ounce of ice which is a purer form of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia including digital scales, gravity scales, pipes, and assorted baggies.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department seized the $1,765 and Morales' vehicle which is a 1998 Ford Mustang. The Tennessee Department of Revenue will also be contacted.

Alexandria Mayor Position Not On City Ballot This Fall

March 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

Alexandria voters will be electing three aldermen this fall, but not a mayor.

DeKalb County Election Commission Officials say that despite reports in the local media, the office of Mayor will not be on the September 6th ballot.

The office of Mayor was on the ballot in 2005 for a 4 year term. If a vacancy occurs before the end of that 4 year term, a mayor must be appointed by the aldermen on the city council.

The office of Mayor for the City of Alexandria will not be on the ballot until 2009.

Incumbent Mayor David Cripps was appointed by the Alexandria Aldermen last summer after the elected Mayor Clara Lee Vantrease resigned.

Cripps says he will resign the office, effective in September.

Election Commission Officials say if Cripps resigns, the Alexandria Aldermen will have to appoint another Mayor to serve.

The qualifying deadline for the Alexandria election is June 21st at 12 noon. Petitions may be picked up at the Election Commission office beginning March 23. The last day to register is August 7.

For more information please contact the Election Commission office.

Drug and Alcohol Enforcement Lead To More Arrests By Smithville Police Department

March 9, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have again been active in drug and DUI enforcement which has resulted in numerous arrests over the last week.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \"On Saturday March 3rd Smithville Police Officers arrested 51 year old Jackie Sanders of 632 Highland Street, Smithville for DUI 2nd Offense while Intoxicated or Drugged. The event started when an off-duty Alexandria Police Officer reported to 911 Dispatch that he had seen a Ford Explorer driving recklessly in the area of Foster and Dry Creek Roads. Smithville Officers responded to the area and were able to find the vehicle and establish that the driver was in fact driving in a manner consistent with drunk driving. Smithville Officers performed the standardized field sobriety tests and found Sanders to be in violation of the state's Implied Consent Law. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail and booked under a $3,000 bond.\"

Meanwhile, on Tuesday March 6th , Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Officers arrested 29 year old Sharon Roseann Barnwell of 831 J E Evins Avenue, Smithville for Simple Possession of a Scheduled IV Drug. Officers were dispatched to the address to break-up a reported fight between Barnwell and her female cousin over the ownership of some jewelry. The women agreed to a search of their persons for some of the reported missing items. Found hidden inside a package of cigarettes on Barnwell was a white pill identified as SOMA. Barnwell was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond. Barnwell gave her listed occupation as a Nurse.\"

In a separate case, Smithville Police responded to a second disturbance on Wednesday March 7th located at 632 Restview Avenue, Smithville. Chief Stufano says \" Upon arrival Officers saw several neighbors pointing to a disturbance. Once at the residence they made contact with an elderly victim who stated that she told her daughter, 35 year old Patsy Estes McCoy and her husband, 39 year old Mark McCoy to leave her property earlier in the morning and not return. At the time of the disturbance, the two had returned trying to gain entry into the residence. The victim stated she was in fear as the two attempted to push the door open and she told them that she had a bat and would use it if they came in. Mark McCoy then pushed the door open and was struck in the head with the bat. He responded by grabbing the bat from the elderly victim, raising it as if to strike her, and then pushed her hard into the kitchen table causing a bruise. A second party in the house, who witnessed the incident, gave the same story.\"

Chief Stufano says \"While Officers attempted to reconstruct the story and calm the participants down, Patsy McCoy became irate causing a continuing disturbance. After numerous attempts by Police to separate the individuals Patsy McCoy was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $5,000 bond. Mark McCoy was arrested for Aggravated Burglary and Assault with a bond of $30,000.\"

Smithville Police Officers also responded to Green Brook Park regarding a citizen's complaint of a woman, who had passed out inside a mini van. Chief Stufano says \"Upon arrival Officer's made contact with the driver now known as 26 year old Virginia Ayala of 1650 Old Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown. Upon further investigation Officer's found that Ayala was missing 56 Hydrocodone pills from a prescription bottle that had just had 60 refilled the day before. Ayala stated that she had been consuming the pills at a rate of 1 per hour.\"

\"Her mother was later contacted and told Police that she was holding 18 of the pills for her daughter because she knew Ayala had a drug habit. Standardized sobriety tests were performed and it was determined that Ayala was in fact under the influence. Due to the fact that Ayala was in physical manual control of the vehicle and just attempting to leave she was placed under arrest for DUI. She was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail and booked under a $1,000 bond\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are committed to the safety and security of the residents and guests of the City of Smithville. As springtime fast approaches, it also brings the infusion of more people enjoying our area. The Police Department will remain vigilant for DUI and other traffic hazards that could disrupt our motoring public. \"

Sheriff's Department Makes Three Arrests In Thursday Night Drug Bust

March 9, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested three people Thursday night in a drug raid on Holmes Creek Road.

64 year old Gary Britt of 7694 Holmes Creek Road, 46 year old Sammy Taylor of Winter Drive, Dowelltown, and 43 year old Lou Ann Cantrell of Rocky Road, Lebanon have all been charged in the case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says \" On March 8, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at the home of Britt and found in Britt's possession, 28 K-4 Dilaudid's and $242 in cash. Officers also found in Britt's residence drug paraphernalia including hypodermic needles.\"

Britt is charged with Unlawful Possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for sale and delivery, Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Resisting Stop Frisk, and Halt. The Resisting is because Britt got out of a vehicle and would not obey the Officer's command to stop.

Britt's bond is $24,500 and he will appear in General Sessions Court on March 29th.

Sheriff Ray says Taylor was found to have two K-4 Dilaudid's in his possession. Taylor's vehicle, a 1993 Chevy Blazer was also seized. Taylor is charged with Unlawful Possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for sale and delivery, Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia where a hypodermic needle was found in his vehicle. Bond for Taylor is $21,000 and his court date is March 29th.

According to Sheriff Ray, both Britt and Taylor, in a written statement, admitted that they had just returned from Nashville after purchasing the 30 Dilaudid's.

Cantrell is charged with child neglect.

Sheriff Ray says \" Upon Officers entering Britt's residence, Cantrell took off running with her 5 year old child into a deep wooded area behind the residence. The child had no coat and was wearing a short sleeved shirt. When Officer's found the child, the youngster was shivering and complaining about being cold. Cantrell's bond is $2,500 and her court date is March 29th\".

He says \"The search warrant was the result of an extensive investigation into the illegal drug sales and high traffic volume at Britt's home.\"

Anyone who has information about the illegal sale or possession of drugs should call Sheriff Ray at 597-4935. All calls are kept confidential.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, 49 year old James Anthony Clemons of McMinnville Highway was arrested Wednesday for DUI.

Sheriff Ray says \"On March 7, deputies from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Jefferson Road and JC Jones Road. Deputies found Clemons to be the driver. Clemons was charged with DUI and Driving on revoked license 2nd offense and a citation was written for no insurance.

Total bond for Clemons is $4,500 and his court date is March 29th

Center Hill Realty Names New Broker, Welcomes New Agent

March 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville, TN---Center Hill Realty announces the promotion of Ron Sifford to broker in its Sliver Point Office, and the addition of Kristie Campbell as an agent at its Smithville office.

?We?re committed to being a full-service company for people in all areas of DeKalb County, and that requires the best possible staff,? says Robin Driver, Center Hill Realty broker/owner. ?Both Ron and Kristie have demonstrated the personnel skills and professionalism which make them an asset to our team.?

Sifford, a native of Greeneville, TN, retired from the U.S. Navy in 1999, after more than 20 years of service following a brief career as a disc jockey at WJLE, Smithville, in the early 1970s. He and his wife Patsy reside in Smithville and are the parents of three grown children. He has had his real estate license since 2000 and broker?s license since 2004.

A multi-million dollar seller each of the past three years, he?s a two-time recipient of the Silver Award for sales excellence from the Eastern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors. At Center Hill?s Silver Point office he will manage a staff of seven agents.

?The best thing about this job is the people we get to meet and work with,? he says. ?My goal is to continue to be their number one resource for property in the area, and chalet rentals at the lake, whatever their needs.?

For Campbell, the position at Center Hill Realty marks the beginning of a new career. A White County native, she and her husband Scott, a communications contractor, are the parents of three sons and reside in Dowelltown. ?I?m looking forward to this opportunity to help others realize their dreams of home ownership,? she says.

With office locations in Smithville and Silver Point, Center Hill Realty has consistently been the local market leader in real estate sales since it?s founding in 1989. The company takes great pride in the community and area it serves, and is an active supporter of local events, charities, and youth sports.


DeKalb County Jobless Rate 5.2% in January

March 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 5.2%, up from the revised rate for December of 4.7%

The DeKalb County Labor Force for January was 10,080. A total of 9,560 were employed and 520 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 4.8 percent, 0.1 percent lower than the December rate of 4.9 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of January was 4.6 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January show that all 95 counties increased. County unemployment rates cannot be seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal expansions and layoffs that occur during the year. The state and U.S. unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal fluctuations and to indicate a more accurate measurement of actual economic change.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.4 percent, up from 3.0 percent in December. Pickett County was the states highest at 11.3 percent, up from 9.3 in December, followed by Lawrence County at 9.8 percent, up from 8.8 in December.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.9 percent, up from 3.3 in December. Davidson County is 4.1 percent, up from 3.6 in December. Hamilton County is at 4.4 percent, up from 3.8 in December, and Shelby County is 5.7 percent, up from the December rate of 5.0.

Seven Candidates Qualify For Smithville Election With Deadline Looming

March 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

Seven candidates have qualified to run for alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election this summer with a few more days left until the qualifying deadline.

Those who have qualified to be on the ballot for the June 19th city election include Jerry W. Hutchins' Sr, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, Todd VanDyne, W.J. (Dub) White, Paul Young, and Aaron Meeks.

Three will be elected.

White, Meeks, and Young are incumbents seeking re-election.

The election commission reports that a qualifying petition has been picked up for one more potential candidate, but it has not yet been returned.

The qualifying deadline is 12 noon on Thursday, March 15th

Home Health Care Employee Charged With Defrauding Elderly Woman In Her Care

March 19, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old Home Health Care employee has been charged with fraudulent use of a credit card belonging to an 81 year old woman with whom she was sitting.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Cynthia Kirby of Bell Street Apartments has posted a $1,000 bond and she will be in General Sessions Court on the charge March 29th.

According to Sheriff Ray, the elderly woman gave Kirby her debit card to withdraw some money to buy some supplies. While Kirby was at Region's Bank in Smithville on Thursday, March 8th, she made an unauthorized debit for $200.

Sheriff Ray says Kirby implicated herself in a statement she gave to authorities. In addition to the criminal charge against her, Kirby has been terminated from her employment.

In a separate case, 18 year old Terry Barnes of West Maple Street, Morrison is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge March 22nd.

Barnes is accused of being with a 17 year old female who was reported missing by her mother. The girl's mother took out a runaway petition on the juvenile after discovering that her daughter was gone.

Sheriff Ray says officers confronted Barnes about the girl but he denied knowing her whereabouts. She was found with Barnes at the home of Barnes' sister on Corinth Church Road on Friday, March 16th.

In other cases, Sheriff Ray says 24 year old Jamie Reyes of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville was arrested on Saturday, March 17th and charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and violation of probation. His bond is set at $6,000 and he will be in court on the charges March 29th.

Sheriff Ray says an officer, while on patrol, found Reyes sitting in a vehicle on Whorton Springs Road. The car was running but Reyes was passed out. Reyes was awakened and asked to perform a field sobriety task, which he failed. He was then taken into custody.

48 year old Ricky Devault of Talphia Road, Dowelltown was also arrested Saturday and charged with driving on a revoked license. Sheriff Ray says a deputy, while on patrol spotted Devault driving on the Old Snow Hill Road. The officer knew Devault didn't have a driver's license so he pulled him over. DeVault already has two cases of the same offense pending against him in General Sessions Court. He is under a $3,000 bond and he will be in court on this charge April 19th.

On Sunday, March 18th, 35 year old Alfonso Hernandez Bluff Springs Road, McMinnville, was arrested and charged with a third offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. A deputy, while on patrol, stopped Hernandez for weaving on Highway 56. He failed a field sobriety task and was charged. He is under a $6,000 bond and will appear in General Sessions Court April 19th.

39 year old Carlos Reyes of Skyline Drive, McMinnville was also arrested for driving under the influence over the weekend after a deputy stopped him for weaving on Highway 56. He failed a field sobriety task and was charged. His bond is $1,000 and his court date is May 10th.

Smithville Police Continue Crackdown on Drug Trafficking and Traffic Offenses

March 17, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police continued their crackdown on DUI, Drug trafficking and traffic enforcement in the city with numerous investigations and arrests this week.

Chief Thomas Stufano says \"Smithville Police observed a vehicle with an improper tag being driven on Congress Boulevard.. Upon stopping and contacting the driver, Officers found that the driver 28 year old Jamie Carroll of 834 Gentry Avenue was driving on a Suspended License 3rd offense. Carroll was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. He is under a $3,000 bond.\"

Investigators working an undercover narcotics investigation arrested 26 year old Danny Ray Murphy of 335 Shady Drive for Sale and Distribution of a Schedule II Drug and driving a vehicle with no Driver's License. Also arrested was 26 year old Amy Vandercamp of McMinnville. A citizen complaint led police to the Food Lion parking lot where the two were actively engaged in a drug transaction. Upon contact Investigators found Murphy in possession of K-4 Dilaudid and a large amount of cash. Vandercamp was also in possession of K-4 Dilaudid. The pair was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. Bond was set at $40,000 for them. The vehicles were impounded under the state's Drug Forfeiture Act and the Revenue Department was contacted for tax administrative action.

Smithville Officers arrested 53 year old Steven William Palmer of 224 Garfield Street, McMinnville for Driving under the Influence. Officer's responded to the area of McMinnville Highway in answer to a suspected drunk driving complaint. Upon arrival Smithville Officer's made contact with Palmer who was given standardized field sobriety tests for intoxication. Chief Stufano says \"It was apparent that Palmer was heavily intoxicated as he was unable to perform these tests. He was arrested for DUI and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond. A computer check showed that Palmer also had a current warrant for his arrest for DUI from another county.\"

Officers also responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on East Broad Street where they came in contact with 33 year old Federico Torres of 1383 Blue Springs Road. A concerned citizen who had been following the erratic driver called the Smithville Police to report that the driver had multiple near crashes. Officers who responded stated that Federico was too intoxicated to stand or perform any of the sobriety tests. The investigation also noted open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. He was arrested for DUI 2nd offense and driving on a revoked license. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail. His bond is $2,000.

Smithville Police Investigators arrested 34 year old Katherine Michelle Carr of 628 Restview in Smithville and 34 year old Sharon Barnwell of Smithville for Sale and Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Paraphernalia. Chief Stufano says the two were engaged in an illegal drug transaction in the Walmart parking lot as reported by a concerned citizen. Smithville Investigators were able to quickly setup surveillance and arrested the parties as they exited the parking area. Further investigation noted that the drug transaction involved rock cocaine. At the time of the arrest Carr had (5) minor children in her car who were turned over to a family member who was called to the scene. The two adults were arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail and charged. Bond was set at $101,000. Their vehicles were seized under the State's Drug Forfeiture Act and the State Revenue authorities were contacted.

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police have been increasing their enforcement efforts in the areas of DUI, Drugs and Speeding within the city limits. Residents are encouraged to report to the Police any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Remember to contact 615-215-3000 for normal reporting of events and 911in the event of an emergency.\"

Man In Domestic Dispute With Ex-Girlfriend Seriously Injured After Falling From Moving Vehicle

March 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 28 year old man was seriously injured Saturday afternoon and airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga after a domestic dispute with his ex-girlfriend.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Amador Zetina Gomez of 1105 Vaughn Lane, an employee of Zelenka Nursery, suffered serious facial injuries and possibly others after he fell from a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by 40 year old Rhonda Jo Suarez of Banks Pisgah Road.

Trooper England says he was dispatched to 1105 Vaughn Lane Saturday around 3:27 p.m. to investigate a non-injury traffic accident involving a pedestrian. Upon further investigation, it was determined to be a domestic dispute between Gomez and Suarez.

According to Trooper England, Suarez, the driver of the Jeep Cherokee, was sitting in the vehicle talking to Gomez. The conversation erupted into an argument and Gomez reached into the driver's side window and grabbed Suarez by her shirt. She then accelerated the vehicle and traveled across the parking lot with Gomez still holding on to her through the window. Gomez then fell from the window of the vehicle and hit the ground. Suarez made a U-turn, came back, and then stopped beside Gomez to check on him.

Gomez was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

According to Suarez and other witnesses, Gomez had been drinking but it could not be verified how much or how long he had been drinking leading up to this incident.

Witnesses say both Gomez and Suarez have been involved in domestic disputes with each other before on several occasions.

Suarez is a former employee of Zelenka Nursery and according to Trooper England, company officials have asked her on numerous occasions before not to be on the property.

Suarez was cited for improper vehicle registration and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). The case is under review by the District Attorney General's Office to determine if further charges should be filed in the case.


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