Pubdate: Wed, 30 Oct 2002
Source: Times Daily (Florence, AL)
Copyright: 2002 Times Daily
Author: Emilio Sahurie


FLORENCE - Authorities were praising the work of Wal-Mart cashiers for a 
weekend arrest after they spotted drug-making products coming through their 
checkout lines. On Monday, Florence police officers identified one of two 
people accused of buying ingredients used in the production of 
methamphetamines. Jessica Lynn Travis, 19, and a 43-year-old unidentified 
man were charged with attempting to manufacture a controlled substance, 
possession of controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
Both people, believed to be from Florida, were being held in the Lauderdale 
County Detention Center with bail set a $28,500. Florence police Capt. 
Spence Butler said the suspects were uncooperative. He said officers were 
checking driver's license records and information from the National Crime 
Information Center to positively identify the 43-year-old man. The arrests 
occurred Friday night after Travis and the man bought several items at the 
Florence Wal-Mart. Store employees contacted a Florence police officer 
working security at the store, Butler said. Officer Pat Wilson asked the 
couple for identification as they were entering their car. Inside their 
car, police discovered numerous items used in the production of 
methamphetamines - containers, notes on how to cook meth, 50 rounds of 
ammunition and 37 different car titles from different states, each with 
different names. Wilson, the arresting officer, had taught a drug class for 
Wal-Mart employees in August, Butler said. "He taught them what to look 
for," Wilson said. "They played a big role in seeing these items." Police 
across the country have been attacking the growing drug problems by not 
only focusing on meth labs but also arresting people purchasing the 
ingredients. Stores and pharmacies have become battlegrounds for police 
since the drug's ingredients include substances found in over-the-counter 
cold and allergy medications. Area stores have been sites of similar 
arrests this past year by police and members of the Lauderdale County Drug 
Task Force. Florence Wal-Mart co-manager Drew Stevens said he was proud of 
his employees' actions during the weekend. "Wal-Mart associates are very 
involved with the community," Stevens said. "Our associates are willing to 
do anything to help police and the community."
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