Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 3, 2010

Echols traffic stop leads to meth arrest

VALDOSTA — A Lowndes County resident was arrested in Echols County Friday evening after a traffic stop revealed a methamphetamine lab in another person’s vehicle.

At 8:55 p.m., while Echols County Sheriff Randy Courson was on patrol, he was behind a green Ford F150 pickup that was weaving in front of him, he said, at the Antioch Church and J. Frank Culpepper Road intersection on Ga. 376.

Courson conducted a traffic stop and, after speaking with the driver, checking his information and sobriety, he returned to his vehicle to run the information through dispatch, he said.

At that time, passenger Leonard Bruce Cater, 37, began walking toward Courson appearing to have something in his hand, Courson said. When asked what Cater was holding, he told Courson that he had a pill vial with marijuana inside, Courson said.

Cater was taken into custody and Courson called for backup. Once backup arrived, Courson approached the driver, who said he was giving the passenger a ride to a residence and that he really did not know Cater, Courson said.

Courson said he then asked for consent to search his vehicle and was granted permission.

At that time, an Echols County Deputy located in the back of the truck a soft pack insulated cooler that contained a complete methamphetamine lab with all the ingredients for the methamphetamine lab, Courson said.

Both the driver and Courson were taken into custody and the car was towed. After arriving at the station, Cater admitted the methamphetamine lab was his and that the driver did not know anything about it, Courson said. The driver was released and Cater was arrested.

The South Georgia Drug Task Force was also contacted and responded to the scene of the crime to process the scene, Courson said, and assisted with the arrest and interviews.

Cater is being charged with a felony of manufacturing methamphetamines, a felony for possession of tools for the commission of a crime and a misdemeanor possession of marijuana, said Courson.

It was also discovered the Cater has a probation violation warrant out for meth charges he received in Echols County last year, Courson said.

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