Lockhart nets drug arrests

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

On March 20, the Lockhart Police Department made a drug-related arrest. At approximately 5:43 p.m., Lockhart Police Chief Jeremy Douglas made a traffic stop on a vehicle in front of the Lockhart Town Hall that ran a stop sign at the intersection of Rapp Street and Cadoo Street.

The driver was identified as Joyce Johnson Martin, a 38-year-old white female of Florala.

Douglas detected a strong odor of a fermented beverage on Martin and therefore conducted a series of standardized field sobriety tests on Martin. Martin passed these tests with little or no difficulty.

Douglas then went to the passenger side of the vehicle to identify the passenger. The passenger was identified as Michael Dean Ratliff, 42, of Lockhart.

While Douglas was talking with Ratliff, he observed a strong odor of burnt marijuana emitting from inside the vehicle. Douglas said he did not smell this while talking with Martin, because as soon as she stopped her vehicle she exited and came back to the patrol car.

At that time, Lockhart Captain Dean Polk arrived on scene to assist Chief Douglas.

Douglas had Captain Polk get Ratliff out of the vehicle and conduct a pat search.

Polk allegedly found a partially burnt marijuana cigarette Ratliff was concealing in his hat. Douglas said Ratliff was read his Miranda rights and subsequently arrested and placed in the rear of the patrol car.

Douglas, then with probable cause and consent from Martin, conducted a vehicle search, which revealed a medicine bottle that contained a whitish powder substance known to be methamphetamine. Douglas then read Martin her Miranda rights and placed her under arrest.

Martin was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and also received a citation for running the stop sign.

Ratliff was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana in the first degree.

Both subjects were transported to the Covington County Jail.

Martin was held on a $10,000 bond and Ratliff was held on a $20,000 bond with the bond being $10,000 on each charge.

The case is still under investigation by the Lockhart PD.

The Covington County 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force also made drug arrest recently.

On March 22, deputies with the Covington County Sheriff's Department were called to a residence near the Barnes Bridge area in reference to suspicious circumstances.

DTF agents responded, and while there located items commonly associated with a methamphetamine laboratory.

Arrested in connection with the items was Stacey Joe McCart, 31, of Red Level.

He was charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance in the first degree ($250,000 bond), trafficking of a controlled substance ($250,000) and possession of drug paraphernalia ($20,000).

A DTF spokesperson said an investigation is continuing into the case and that the DTF expects more arrests.