CARBON HILL — A Carbon Hill police officer made a traffic stop for a tag light this week that led to a drug arrest and the discovery of 49.08 grams of methamphetamine.
"This is the largest amount of meth we've seen at one place and at one time since I've been up here," said Carbon Hill Police Chief Eric House Thursday in his office. House started the job in November 2017.
The amount also serves as a personal record for an amount of drugs for Officer Antoine Cobb, who was accompanied on the stop by reserve officer Anthony Smith.
House said if he could get on the rooftops and say, "Good job," to his men, he would. The department's Facebook page said that Cobb "served a great duty to our citizens" by way of the arrest and confiscation.
"This is a substantial hit for our department. I'm very, very proud of our gentlemen for how they do their business," he said. "This is a tremendously good lick."
House said at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Cobb and Smith made a routine traffic stop at the intersection of Fourth Street SW and First Avenue SW. House said the vehicle and its driver, Erik Wesley Weber of Birmingham, was stopped for not having a tag light.
After that, everything else just "snowballed," he said.
"It turns out he had a (felony) warrant for Shelby County," which led to Weber being placed in handcuffs, House said.
An inventory was made of the vehicle, with the driver's verbal permission, and two bags of methamphetamine were discovered. The officers "found the drug paraphernalia, the scales, the little baggies. There were over 100 little baggies," House said.
Weighed in the field, one bag of meth weighed 29.04 grams and another weighed 20.04 grams, he said. "Both of them tested positive to be meth in a field test," although they will now be sent to a lab for more intensive testing.
Weber was charged with trafficking of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also issued two citations for no tag light and driving with a revoked license.
Cobb notified House of the finding and texted him some photos, he said.
Weber was taken to Carbon Hill's jail until police could seek felony warrants. After consulting Wednesday with the Walker County District Attorney's Office, the warrants for trafficking and drug paraphernalia were obtained, House said. Weber was then transported by Walker County Sheriff's Office deputies to the Walker County Jail in Jasper. Bond was expected to be set today (Friday).
House noted it amounted to a large amount of meth. "It's obvious he was taking it somewhere to drop it off because they had the baggies, the scales. Everything was there. It hasn't been crushed up or cut yet," he said.
The quantity of drugs in the case was unusual. "It's just rare we catch it coming in like he did. It was the right time and the right place," House said.
House said the arrest was evidence that work is being done locally on the drug problem. "Small town law enforcement still works. It does," he said, adding that the sheriff's office and Carbon Hill police work together.
"We're fighting our way back," he said.
House continued to emphasize he was proud of his officers.
"It means that much to me that the guys all worked together and we get all this stuff processed right, and we get all the proper people together that we need so that we can make this happen for the community," he said. "I mean, we've got to put a stop to some of this stuff, and that's what we've been trying to do. We are trying our best to curb it."
House said the biggest challenge to yet is manpower and resources in the department.
"If I could put two people out here per shift, absolutely it would happen. But we don't have the resources, the funding for that right now. Hopefully, one day, though," he said.
House currently has three full-time officers and three part-time officers. He said he needs an additional full-time officer for minimum staffing, but the department is making the current situation work.
If anyone has any tips on drug activity, they may call the police department at 205-924-4411.