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Assistant Fire Chief charged in largest meth bust in Sharp County history

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts looks on Jan. 3 as Third Judicial Prosecutor Henry Boyce, Chief Deputy David Huffmaster, Investigator Dale Weaver and Deputy Gary Mitchell go through evidence collected in the largest methamphetamine bust in Sharp County. The items recovered included over a half pound of methamphetamine, various other drugs, and over $50,000 in cash. Photo/Tammy Curtis [Order this photo]
Mickel Neal Couch, the Nine Mile Ridge Assistant Fire Chief, has been charged in the largest methamphetamine bust in Sharp County history. His arrest follows a lengthly investigation by the Sharp County Sheriff's Department and the Third Judicial District Drug Task Force. The arrest recovered over a half pound of methamphetamine, with a street value of over $240,000, and $51,850 in cash.

Sharp County Chief Deputy David Huffmaster and an investigator from the Third Judicial Drug Task Force traveled to Bee Run Campground near Hardy Dec. 30. After knocking on the camper, Couch, 59, came to the door, and Huffmaster witnessed him throw a can to the floor. After being asked to step outside the camper, the officers observed various items related to drug use, including suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in plain sight.

A female, Theresa Griffin, 43, was also in the camper.

Officers were granted permission to search the residence, and looked in the orange canister thrown to the floor by Couch. Inside was a large crystal-like rock of suspected methamphetamine.

Officers spent hours going through the large amount of drug related items found on the property, including over a half pound of methamphetamine in various size rocks, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, scales, numerous syringes, Xanax and large quantities of cash.

Couch's truck was also searched, resulting in the recovery of more cash, marijuana, syringes and a fireman's badge.

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts said Couch had "been flying under the radar with the lights on his fire truck."

A representative with the Drug Task Force said this is the largest methamphetamine bust in Sharp County, taking nearly a quarter of a million dollars in drugs off the streets.

Couch and Griffin have been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance-marijuana, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-Xanax.

The pair remain in the Sharp County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

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Maybe drug testing for ALL fire departments volunteers needs to be conducted! Also maybe back ground checks as well! Drug dealers, addicts, and registered sex offenders, being allowed in the Emergency Services, is not very bright decisions. And the decisions being made are decisions being made under the radar and not done with the interest of the community support! There should be a law put in place that the state can step up, ( in any county) go in any FD and look around, do drug/ alcohol testing and on the spot back grounds checks! This will clean up MOST of the Small problems, embezzlement is a whole different problem. I am sure, That all will come out in time! This is just another embarrassment to the sad, mislead fire departments up in the Northren AR area! When will enough be enough?

-- Posted by concernedyesiam on Thu, Jan 12, 2012, at 11:25 PM

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