Man pleads in meth case

Published 12:18 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

William Octavius Holland, 57, of Andalusia, pleaded guilty Friday morning to trafficking in methamphetamine before Circuit Judge Lex Short, according to a press release issued by the district attorney’s office on Wednesday.

Short sentenced Holland to 18 years imprisonment under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act, and ordered him to pay the statutory $50,000 fine.

Holland was arrested on February 9, 2015, after agents with the 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, arranged to purchase a large amount of methamphetamine from Holland through an undercover operative. When Holland arrived to deliver the drugs, agents took him into custody. They found approximately seven grams of methamphetamine in his possession at that time. Holland then admitted to agents that they would find more methamphetamine in his residence on Antioch Road.

DTF agents obtained a search warrant for the residence where they recovered an additional 42 grams of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia. Holland was then charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. According to DTF Commander Mark Odom, the approximate street value of the drugs at that time was $100 per gram, totaling almost $5,000 in value.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said, “This arrest and prosecution represents a significant obstruction to the drug trade to that part of the County. Holland was a mid to upper level drug dealer, and as I’ve long said – drug dealers are predators, and predators belong in a cage. Thankfully, that’s where he will remain for quite some time.”

The District Attorney’s Office also filed a civil action seeking forfeiture of real property, a mobile home, and a vehicle, all owned by Holland and used by him to conduct his illicit trafficking of methamphetamine. In its complaint, the state alleged that the real property and its fixtures were used as a base for preparing and packaging the drugs for sale, and the vehicle was used in the transport and delivery of the drugs. Circuit Judge Ben Bowden awarded the property to the state. The court noted that Holland had video surveillance and police scanners operating on his property, and found that to also be consistent with drug activity. Further, the evidence showed that Holland had the drugs packaged in at least 45 individual bags for sale.

Holland subsequently filed an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court arguing that, “The search and seizure was unconstitutional and therefore void.” The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed with Holland’s position and ruled in July to uphold the condemnation.

Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens was the lead prosecutor on the case.

The real property and mobile home is located at 24377 Antioch Road in Andalusia and is set to be sold by public auction on the courthouse steps on October 16, 2018, at 11 a.m. Proceeds of the sale will be awarded to the 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force for its operating expenses.

Ownership of the Dodge Ram truck has been transferred to the 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force for official use, or for sale in accordance with state law. Anyone wishing to view the property prior to the sale may contact DTF Commander Mark Odom at (334) 222-3532.