FORT SMITH -- A Fort Smith man and woman will remain in federal custody pending their trial on drug conspiracy charges after they were arrested last month, accused of possessing seven pounds of methamphetamine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Marschewski ruled Monday that William Alexander and Rosa Sharon were a danger to the community if released after hearing testimony that they dealt in large amounts of methamphetamine and had guns in their Fort Smith home. Marschewski also said Sharon was a flight risk because she had no ties to the area.
The couple are charged in a magistrate's complaint with one count each of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
A Fort Smith police officer pulled over a 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe that Sharon was driving with Alexander as a passenger July 13. After getting consent to search the vehicle, officers found an electronics box in the back seat that contained seven pounds of methamphetamine, according to testimony during the hearing.
Under investigation for months, the two were followed to and from Oklahoma City, where federal drug agents say Alexander bought the methamphetamine for distribution in the Fort Smith area.
The agents sent in a confidential informant in December who bought an ounce of the drug from Alexander.
After his arrest, according to court records, Alexander confessed to selling large amounts of drugs in the Fort Smith area and that his wife, Sharon, helped by driving him to Oklahoma City, interpreting Spanish for him in phone calls to his drug source, weighing out the drugs and counting the money.
During the hearing, Alexander's relatives testified they were told Alexander and Sharon supported themselves from the sale of his share of a furniture store in California 18 months ago and from the sale of Sharon's home there from a previous marriage.
Relatives who live in Johnson County testified they didn't know that Alexander and Sharon were involved in selling drugs or that Alexander admitted to being a heavy methamphetamine user.
Marschewski questioned inconsistencies in information the couple gave federal probation officials. He said Alexander stated in his financial report for the court that he had no assets but that Sharon reported they had $225,000 in cash. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Fowlkes read from the report that Alexander also wrote down he had six cars and pickups and a motorcycle.
Marschewski also noted the probation report stated that Alexander had drug possession convictions in California in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Metro on 08/01/2014
Print Headline: Pair charged in drug case ordered held before trial