Pubdate: Mon, 26 Aug 2002
Source: Altus Times, The (OK)
Copyright: Altus Times 2002
Author: Mark Glenn


An Altus City Judge and a City of Altus employee, both arrested during a 
drug bust at a Lawton residence Friday morning, were apparently in the 
wrong place at the wrong time.

Lawton police say they had a warrant to search the residence of Norris 
Hill, a known drug dealer, but didn't know who the two Altus people were 
when the bust happened. While police were at the residence they seized 20 
grams of cocaine and arrested three people including Hill, David Thomas, 
49, and Patricia Webster, 44.

Thomas, a former assistant district attorney, was arrested on complaints of 
possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Webster who was 
a receptionist at Altus City Hall, was arrested on complaints possession of 
cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
Hill was apprehended on a complaint of trafficking cocaine.

David Schucker, an officer with Lawton Police Department Special Operations 
Division, said the arrests were part of an investigation directed at Hill.

"We were aware of him," said Schucker. "We didn't know who the two people 
from Altus were. They just happened to be there when the warrant was served."

A search warrant was obtained and served at about 10:30 a.m. Friday at 
Hill's home in the 5800 block of Northwest Baldwin Avenue in Lawton. The 
warrant stemmed from an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip according to police.

All three could face stiffer charges because the drug bust occurred near an 
elementary school. They were expected to make their initial appearance in 
Comanche County District Court sometime today.

The arrests of both Thomas and Webster caught City of Altus officials by 

'Yes, it surprised me," said Altus Mayor T.L. Gramling. "I heard some 
rumors afterwards but I certainly didn't expect this."

Gramling said that Webster has been dismissed from her position with the 
city since the incident in Lawton. "She was already on probation," said 

Thomas' status is technically not been dealt with, but it is expected he 
will be formerly dismissed by the Altus City Council.

"It will take council action," said City Administrator Mike Nettles. "But 
that is a safe assumption."

City Attorney Catherine Coke said Gramling would make a recommendation to 
the replacement of Thomas, which must be approved by the city council.

Currently Phil Olson, a judge in juvenile court and a backup to the city 
judge's position, will take over Thomas' duties until a replacement is named.

Thomas was an assistant district attorney in the 1980s when Steve Suttle 
was the District Attorney. He is a member of the law firm of Latham, Nelson 
and Thomas.
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