APD nabs 2 for cocaine in stop

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Two Andalusia men were arrested on drug charges, and another is at large, following the Andalusia Police Depar-tment’s first publicized bust since the agency’s split from the county Drug Task Force in September.

Lt. Paul Dean said Sgt. R.C. Covington made a traffic stop on East Three Notch Street that netted approximately 22 grams of cocaine hydrochloride, or “powdered cocaine,” Friday.

Arrested were 47-year-old Ramish Lurell Ellison and 50-year-old Larry Joe Stanford and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. Each was booked into the Covington County Jail and held on a $203,000 bond.

“A third black male ran from the traffic stop on foot, and at that time, was able to elude police,” Dean said. “However, since that time, he has been identified and is being sought by the APD. An arrest is expected soon.”

This the first set of publicized arrest by the APD Criminal Investigative Division, which investigates all criminal matters, including narcotics, since the agency’s split from the 22nd Circuit DTF on Sept. 30.

Dean said the men were charged with the “new intent law” because of the amount found inside the vehicle.

“Think about say, one packet of NutraSweet,” he said. “The content of the packet is one gram. This (find) would be like 22 packets. To be charged with trafficking, one must have in their possession 28 grams of a controlled substance, so (those arrested) were six grams short of a trafficking charge.”

Dean said the new law, which was passed during the last legislative session, is a “middle ground” for law enforcement.

“Possession of a controlled substance was already on the books, and so was trafficking,” he said. “Legislators recognized there needed to be something in the middle if someone had say, 27 grams of a controlled substance. Now, law enforcement has that tool.”

Chief Wilbur Williams notified the DTF board of his decision earlier last month that the department would stop participating. Williams stated that the level of task force service received in Andalusia did not match the level of funding expended by the city.

Participating agencies in the DTF are the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, the county district attorney’s office and the Opp, Florala, Gantt, Red Level, River Falls and Lockhart police departments.