Tahlequah Daily Press

January 17, 2014

Dog spots meth cache in traffic stop

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Two men were jailed early Thursday morning after Tahlequah canine officer Bo led officers to a hidden bag of methamphetamine inside a car.

Officer Cory Keele stopped the car at about 3:30 a.m. after watching the vehicle make some “suspicious” stops. Keele said he pulled the vehicle over for several traffic violations.

Micah Downing, 29, was driving, and 49-year-old Richard Wayne Russell was in the front seat.

Keele said he conducted a pat-down on Downing, with Downing’s permission, and discovered a syringe in one pocket. Keele was notified that Downing and Russell were both wanted on outstanding warrants.

Officer Reed Felts took Russell to the Cherokee County Detention Center while Keele deployed his canine partner, Bo, around the vehicle. Bo began to jump on the driver’s side door, alerting to officers the possible presence of narcotics, so police decided to search the car.

Keele said the headliner in the car was sagging near the windshield on the front passenger side. Keele reached inside and pulled out a bag containing a white, powdery substance.

Downing allegedly told Keele he was “pretty sure” he saw Russell put his hand into the headliner, but he also admitted to Keele that he had a bag of white residue inside his own pocket.

Downing was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At the jail, Keele told Russell about the meth found on the passenger side of the vehicle, where Russell had been sitting. Russell became upset, according to Keele, and began to accuse other officers of “planting” drugs on him.

Russell was booked for possession of methamphetamine.

Court records show Downing has previously been charged in Cherokee County with unlawful possession of a controlled drug and unlawful possession of paraphernalia.

Russell has a lengthy list of previous charges in Cherokee County, including several counts of unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm in commission of a felony; unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a controlled substance.

Most Russell’s previous drug charges were dismissed with costs in April 2012.