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DTF arrests four, seizes drugs, vehicles in Bend

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Staff Writer

Drug Task Force agents seized a large amount of U.S. currency, personal property, a motorcycle, vehicles and illegal drugs during a drug raid in Horseshoe Bend Sept. 18.

Charles R. Earle, 51, of Horseshoe Bend, Richard Burrow, 31, of Oxford, Keith Bernardo, 44, of Horseshoe Bend and Michael J. French, 44, of Ash Flat were arrested after authorities searched Earle's home.

According to 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force Agent Scott Russell, officers recovered jewelry-size zip-lock baggies, digital gram scales MSM (cutting agent) and a mirror with residue.

Items used to manufacture methamphetamine were also found, including solvents such as HEET, camp fuel and acetone, a plastic vessel containing acid, tubing with residues, clear plastic tubing and a plastic vessel containing a cloudy liquid with a powder-like sediment, said Russell.

Outside the residence officers found partially burned blister packs marked pseudoephedrine in a barbecue grill, he said.

While officers were searching the surroundings the suspects arrived and Earle drove up on a motorcycle. Authorities found a large amount of off-white crystalline substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine that was in several different containers. Items of drug paraphernalia were found as well as several sets of scales, a police scanner, snort tubes with residues and other items. A bottle was found that was marked morphine tablets, Russell said.

Other drugs were found that will be submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for analysis, Russell added.

Earle has been convicted of numerous felonies, including drug convictions, in two different states and is currently on parole, Russell said.

Earle has been charged with possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine; use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture, methamphetamine; use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia; possession of a controlled substance, morphine.

Earle remains at the Izard County Sheriff's Office with bond set at $100,000.

Burrow faces charges of fleeing from an officer and possession of a controlled substance, marijuana. He was released from the Izard County jail Sept. 19 after posting bond in the amount of $2,000.

Bernardo faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, possession of an instrument of crime, hypodermic needle, and no drivers license. He was transported to the Horseshoe Bend Police Department where he was released after posting bond in the amount of $1,375.

French was released from the Izard County jail after posting bond in the amount of $100,000. He faces charges of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of a controlled substance, marijuana; use or possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia; and criminal use of prohibited weapons.

Agencies involved in the raid also included the Horseshoe Bend Police Department, Arkansas State Police, Independence County Sheriff's Office and Fulton County Sheriff's Office.

Two suspects from Calico Rock were arrested Sept. 16 on drug charges.

Agents from the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force and deputies from the Izard County Sheriff's Office arrested Christy May Whittaker, 34, and Albert Fredrick Bartlett, 44.

Whittaker has been charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. Bond has been set at $20,000.

Bartlett has been charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, marijuana. His bond has been set at $5,000.

The charges stem from an undercover investigation by drug task force agents, said 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force Chief Investigator Scott Russell.



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