News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007

3 arrested in Lawrence drug raid

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

NORTH COURTLAND — Lawrence County narcotics agents are appalled by drug users, dealers and makers who expose children to the dangerous substances, said the county's top drug officer.

That's why law enforcement agencies in the county are
tacking a felony child-endangerment charge on all drug
cases — including a Saturday bust — where a child may have been harmed, said Drug Task Force Commander Amard Martin.

A state law that took effect in June 2006 provides for the crime of chemical endangerment of a child and designates various penalties depending on severity, said Lawrence County District Attorney Jim Osborn.

"The charge normally applies to meth cases, but it can apply to other situations at the discretion of the officer," he said. "(Children) are helpless and can't control their environment, so we certainly want the charges made when it's applicable."

Saturday morning, officers found crack cocaine, marijuana, hydrocodone pills and about $7,100 in cash at a North Courtland home where a 5-year-old child was living, said Martin.

Agents got a search warrant after residents at 12634 Jesse Jackson Parkway allegedly sold drugs twice to an undercover officer.

They entered the home at about 5:35 a.m. to "catch them while they were sleeping," said Martin.

Officers arrested Prentice McGhee, 34, Abby Kilpatric, 22, and Alexander Owens, 24. Owens gave police a different address, 411 Johnson Lane, North Courtland, but Martin said he believed Owens had been living at the home on Jesse Jackson Parkway.

All were charged with second-degree possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of prohibited liquor and child endangerment.

McGhee, Kilpatric and Owens remained in Lawrence County Jail on Monday. Their bonds had not been set.

The Department of Human Resources picked up the child and released him to a family member.

The Drug Task Force, Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, and Hillsboro and North Courtland police departments assisted in the investigation.

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