Threats land man in jail

Published 12:17 am Saturday, December 20, 2008

A former Florala resident, arrested in 2006 for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamines inside his home, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly bribing and intimidating a witness in that drug case.

John Franklin Morris, 49, was initially arrested in 2006 after law enforcement agencies located a methamphetamine lab and marijuana inside his Florala home. As a result, he was charged with a barrage of drug offenses including manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance.

Morris’s drug case had not yet been set for trial; however, a tip given to the 22nd Circuit Drug Task Force from a witness uncovered Morris’ suspected activities. Morris had been released from jail on a $440,000 bond.

Covington County District Attorney Greg Gambril said the witness, who spoke with 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force agents following Morris’s initial contact with him, became a confidential informant in the undercover operation conducted jointly by the DTF and the DA’s office.

“The witness set up a meeting with Morris for Thursday afternoon and was outfitted with a wire prior to the meeting,” Gambril said. “Agents and investigators, who monitored the meeting from nearby, arrested Morris after hearing him tell the witness where to say various items of evidence were located and threaten to hurt the witness as well as members of his family.”

DTF assistant Commander Paul Hudson said this is first case of its nature the DTF has worked.

“We’ve had some cases where threats were issued but nothing to this extent where someone would actually pay somebody to do something,” Hudson said.

Hudson also expressed his appreciation to the witness for help with the operation.

“Since its inception, the DTF has vowed to protect and aid any individual willing to come forward and testify against those involved in the illegal narcotics trade,” he said. “We take the protection of such brave individuals very seriously.”

Both bribing a witness and intimidating a witness are Class “C” felonies, which carry a sentence range of one year and one day to 10 years imprisonment for each conviction.

Currently, Morris remains in the county jail.