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Friday, May 6, 2016

Jury finds Salem man guilty of making meth

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Staff Writer

A Salem man who was found hiding in an bathtub by law enforcement officials after an April 2 drug raid won't be hiding from the law anytime soon.

A Fulton County jury sentenced Larry Eugene Bell, 40, to 16 years in prison July 21 in Circuit Court.

"Anytime we send methamphetamine users or dealers south, its good for our community," said Fulton County Sheriff Lloyd Martz after Bell's conviction.

The jury found Bell guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of a minor, a class Y felony; possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use, a class C felony; and possession of methamphetamine, a class c felony.

Bell received 10 years for the manufacturing charge and three years apiece for the possession charges. His sentences will run consecutively.

Bell's attorney Larry Kissee said his client is appealing the conviction.

The conviction stems from a raid at Luetta Sue Benedict's house in northern Fulton County. Benedict is Bell's mother-in-law.

Officers from the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Fulton County Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas State Police found a clandestine methamphetamine lab, quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, firearms and other drug components inside the house.

Sixteenth Judicial District Drug Task Force Chief Scott Russell said Bell and his 15-year-old wife, Luetta, were living with Benedict. He said Benedict has two children, ages 11 and 12, who were living in the house at the time of the drug raid.

Because of her age, Luetta Bell wasn't charged as an adult in the case. Russell said she is facing charges in juvenile court. He said it's illegal to release details about juvenile cases to the public.

Benedict, 47, has been charged with a variety of drug charges in connection with this case. Her trial is slated to begin later in the year.

Bell's appeal bond was set at $100,000. He hasn't posted bond.Fulton County Sheriff Lloyd Martz said Bell's conviction was a sign of how hard law enforcement in the area is working to control the drug problem in Fulton County.

"Were satisfied with the jury's verdict in this case," Russell said.



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