Charges likely to be dropped against truck stop drug suspect

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – Criminal charges likely will be dropped against a 30-year-old Chilton County man who was arrested on drug charges in September 2014 after he was referred to Shelby County Drug Court in December.

Bell

Bell

Alabaster police arrested Brandon Paul Bell, who lists an address on Spearman Road in Thorsby, on Sept. 15, 2014, and charged him with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana.

Bell’s arrest came after the Alabaster Police Department received a call reporting debris littering travel lanes of Interstate 65.

After officer Chris Benninger arrived on the scene, he found a shredded tire from tractor trailer scattered across the roadway, and discovered the source of the debris nearby.

According to the department, Benninger noticed several tires on the truck were in disrepair while he was talking with Bell, prompting a call to the department’s motor carrier inspectors, officer Brett McMurray.

While the two officers investigated the truck, they became suspicious after allegedly smelling marijuana coming from the inside of the truck’s cab. After searching the truck, the officers allegedly discovered marijuana, crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, prompting Bell’s arrest on charges of possession of a controlled substance and second-degree possession of marijuana.

On Dec. 5, Shelby County District Court Judge Ron Jackson ordered Bell to participate in the Shelby County Drug Court program, which will include an assessment, treatment and drug testing.

If Bell completes the Drug Court program, the two criminal charges pending against him will be dismissed without prejudice, meaning he could be tried on the charges again in the future.

If Bell does not complete the Drug Court program, he could be re-arrested, according to Jackson’s order.