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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cave City police capture fugitive wanted by FBI

Friday, June 21, 2002

A suspect hunted by the FBI fled the scene on foot after officers with the Cave City Police Department conducted a traffic stop June 15.

Several grams of rock and powder cocaine, a five-pound bundle of compressed marijuana, assorted prescription pills, a loaded 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and over $1,300 in cash were confiscated during the stop near Subway in Cave City.

Officer Mark Counts of the Cave City Police Department pulled over John Anthony Diaz, 24, of Spring, Texas, after authorities were alerted Diaz was driving erratically. Motorists reported that a vehicle had forced several motorists off Highway 167.

Counts said Diaz told him he had consumed about 10 alcoholic beverages that day. While Counts was performing a field sobriety test, Diaz fled the scene, leaving behind a female passenger identified as Shanna Hawkins, 27, and a minor, said Police Chief Vernon Gann.

Officer Colby Markum of the Cave City Police Department said Diaz was apprehended three hours later by Gann, Counts, and State Trooper Jeremy Hughes on Highway 115 near Cave City United Methodist Church.

Cave City Officer Donnie Poulette discovered the marijuana under the seat of a jet ski that Diaz was hauling.

The cash, along with several grams of rock cocaine, a second clear plastic bag containing several grams of powder cocaine, the loaded pistol, a clear plastic bag containing marijuana and several bottles of prescription pills in unmarked bottles and bags were found in a purse. Gann said, "We're talking many grams."

Authorities discovered the couple was traveling to Horseshoe Bend when officers conducted the search and seizure.

A check through the NCIC computer revealed Diaz was also a fugitive wanted by the FBI on charges of interstate transportation of five to 50 pounds of marijuana.

Diaz and Hawkins were transported to the Sharp County Sheriff's Department and the minor child was placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

Gann said the raid would lead to additional arrests. He added the Cave City Police Department initiated the raid but officers were assisted by the Arkansas State Police, Sharp County Sheriff's Department and local constables.

Gann said the couple faces charges for possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, with intent to deliver; possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, with intent to deliver; possession of prescription medication without a prescription; simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms; and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a certain facility, church. Diaz was also charged with misdemeanor charges of DWI, resisting arrest, fleeing and criminal impersonation.

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