2012 Opp traffic stop yields crystal meth conviction

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 28, 2015

A Covington County jury Thursday found Tommie Gene Self, 57, of Kinston, guilty of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges stemmed from a traffic stop in Opp on Sept. 23, 2012. Officer Mitch Scofield, who was then employed with the Opp Police Department, initiated a traffic stop after he witnessed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed and running through a stop sign. The defendant, Self, pulled into an ongoing traffic lane when Scofield initiated his lights. Scofield moved the traffic stop into the parking lot of a nearby business where, upon further observation of Self, Scofield thought he had been driving under the influence.

Scofield testified at trial that he then removed Self from the vehicle and asked for consent to search. Upon receiving consent, Scofield conducted a search of the vehicle and located a small white bottle wrapped in duct tape. After Scofield picked the bottle up, Self exclaimed, “I don’t do drugs!” Forensic testing confirmed that the white crystal-like substance inside the bottle was methamphetamine.

Assistant District Attorney Emmett Massey prosecuted the case. Bart Boothe defended Self.

Circuit Judge Charles “Lex” Short, who presided, set sentencing for Oct. 27.