|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Narcotics tips lead to several recent arrests
Polk County Enterprise - March 2009
LIVINGSTON — Polk County sheriff’s deputies made several arrests on narcotics charges during March in connection with complaints and tips about suspected narcotics activity. On March 6, narcotics detectives worked with PCSO and Livingston Police Department patrol offi cers went to the Sunset Tattoo Shop in Livingston. According to Sgt. Howard Smith, the owner operator of the shop, Wesley Shillings, had been contacted about information that had been given to law enforcement about methamphetamine distribution and abuse. Shillings denied any knowledge about drug activity and gave full consent for a search of the shop. During the search, scales and a pipe used to smoke methamphetamines were found. Daniel Ross Rachal and Jessie Lee Branham were arrested for possession of methamphetamine, a state jail felony. Katrina Brooke Done was arrested later on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony. Shillings later changed his story and said that he had already had to fi re three people from his shop for methamphetamine-relative problems. He was arrested later on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony. On March 10, deputies traveled to Old Tram Road off Hwy. 146 to follow up on a Crime Stoppers tip that originated from the Polk County Jail. The information alleged that Alfredo Mendoza Ruiz, an inmate awaiting transfer to state prison, who is in the U.S. illegally and his wife Avelina Martinez Ruiz continued to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine while Ruiz was in prison. Narcotics detectives conducted a consentual search and executed a search warrant of the residence and property turned up a large quantity of methamphetamine and cocaine which had a street value of $5,000. Narcotics Lt. Andy Lowrie said that information obtained during the investigation indicated that this group was a large supplier of methamphetamine and cocaine in the Polk County area. Alfredo M. Ruiz, who is in the U.S. illegally, was sentenced to prison for a prior arrest for the possession of methamphetamine and cocaine. Avelina Martinez Ruiz was charged with two first degree felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. William Dominguez, who is in the U.S. illegally, was also charged with two first degree felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Ruben Ruiz, who is in the U.S. illegally, will also be charged with possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony. The investigation into further charges on Alfredo Ruiz is still ongoing, according to Lowrie. On March 22 Narcotics Det. Randy Turner and patrol Deputy Chris Lima pursued information from a Crime Stoppers tip reporting that marijuana was being grown indoors at a location off of FM 1987 just outside the Corrigan city limits. Once they arrived at the location, they contacted Keith D. Burks and advised him about the information that had been received about marijuana being grown. Turner reported that Burks admitted that he was growing marijuana and took Turner inside the residence and showed him the marijuana plants growing in the bathroom area of the house. Burke consented to a further search of the house which turned up a pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine and marijuana, according to Turner’s report. Turner and Lima collected about 20 plants ranging in size from 6 inches to three feet tall. Burke was arrested for possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, for his involvement in growing the marijuana. On March 23, narcotics detectives responded to America’s Best Inn, located off U.S. Highway 59 south of Livingston on information methamphetamine was being distributed from Room 228. Lowrie verified that Room 228 was rented by the same person named in the Crime Stoppers tip. Deputies made contact with James Steelhammer and Kimberly Whittenburg and they were advised of the tip that had been received by the sheriff’s office. A check on both of them showed that Whittenburg had an outstanding arrest warrant for issuance of a bad check and Steelhammer was wanted for a parole violation. Steelhammer was on parole for methamphetamine-related charges. A search warrant was obtained for the room the pair was occupying. Methamphetamine and prescription medications were found during the search. Steelhammer was arrested for the parole warrant. Whittenburg was arrested for issuance of a bad check warrant and a second arrest warrant is pending for possession of prescription medication.