Traffic stop leads to three methamphetamine trafficking arrests

Published 4:02 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2014

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—A routine traffic stop turned into a drug trafficking arrest on June 16 when the Pelham Police Department pulled over a vehicle carrying three adults and two children near 2005 Valleydale Road in Pelham.

“The Pelham Police Department conducted the traffic stop on the vehicle…(for) improper turn and no tag,” Lt. Kevin Turner, commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force said.

According to Turner, Pelham police became suspicious of the vehicle’s adult occupants and contacted the Drug Enforcement Task Force “when they picked up on their demeanor and a conflicting story was given.”

A search of the vehicle allegedly yielded a discovery of Adderall and 43 grams of methamphetamine inside the car, which Turner said, was more than “what the average user would have,” substantiating a drug trafficking charge.

Georgia residents Harold Bythe, 35, Tavia Hershberger, 36, and Stefanie Jones, 30, were arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony, and trafficking of methamphetamine, a class A felony.

Additionally, Blythe, Hershberger and Jones were charged with chemical endangerment of the 10-year-old and 1-year-old passengers of the vehicle, a class C felony.

“The kids were sitting next to (the methamphetamine) in the rear section of the car,” risking exposure or ingestion of the substance, Lt. Turner explained.

The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force is still investigating the incident for ties to larger drug trafficking networks.

“We’re treating it as something much larger,” Lt. Turner said.

Jones and Hershberger are currently being held at the Shelby County Jail under a $280,000 bond. Blythe was additionally charged with obstruction of justice, a class C felony, and the use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. He is being held at the Shelby County Jail under a $296,000 bond.

If convicted of the charges against them, Blythe, Hershberger and Jones could face up to life in prison.