Man arrested in Columbiana for alleged methamphetamine trafficking

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – William David Willingham, 69, was arrested at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5 for alleged methamphetamine trafficking.

Willingham was apprehended on HWY 25 near Napa Auto Parts, and he purportedly had 28.77 grams of methamphetamine in his possession. To be charged with trafficking meth in Alabama, an individual needs to have 28 grams or more of methamphetamine in their possession.

While rates of methamphetamine production in Alabama have decreased since 2021, according to the 2021 Alabama Drug Threat Assessment, it continues to be imported into the state. Meth also remains the greatest drug threat to Alabama according to the same assessment. 

Perhaps because of this, the criminal punishments around the trafficking of methamphetamine are incredibly punitive in Alabama. According to state law any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, brings into the state or is in actual or constructive possession of 28 grams or more of methamphetamine – or any mixture containing the active ingredients – is guilty of felony trafficking in illegal drugs. Individuals with larger amounts of meth, and repeat offenders, can face harsher criminal charges.

While this is Willingham’s first arrest on charges of drug trafficking, he was detained back in April for various traffic violations, including reckless endangerment, improper lane usage, switched tag and attempting to elude police. He failed to appear in court to answer these charges and restore his license at the appointed court date, and warrants for his arrest were subsequently issued.

Currently, Willingham is being detained at Shelby County Jail on a bond of $250,000 solely for his alleged drug trafficking. The investigation is ongoing, and details will be released as they become available,