Traffic stop leads to felony drug charge, discovery of meth, scales, smoking devices and other illegal substances
Editor’s note: The delayed timeline between a traffic stop and the official filing of charges related to the stop is often delayed several weeks to months, as in this case and the Davis case (see page 3), because the prosecutor often waits for official test results from the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab before filing charges.
A warrant with a $1,500 cash-only bond has been issued for Chad E. Brandon of Brixey, who is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony, after Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper N. Vines reportedly found methamphetamine in a vehicle he was riding in as a passenger.
The court documents do not list Brandon’s age, but CaseNet, Missouri’s online court record system, shows that he was born in 1975, making him either 45 or 46.
No registration leads to traffic stop
According to the probable cause statement prepared by Vines, at 1:02 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, the officer met a 2000 Chrysler vehicle traveling eastbound on Highway 160 near West Plains Propane bearing no registration sticker on the vehicle’s license plate.
Vines turned around in the roadway, caught up with the Chrysler and activated his lights and sirens. The driver, Robert Conley, pulled over. When the trooper walked to the vehicle’s window, he noticed three passengers in the car.
Conley gave the officer his driver’s license and title for the vehicle but said he did not have any insurance on the car. The title said he’d purchased the car in October 2020, three months prior to the stop.
Nervous driver, passenger with drugs, scale
“While speaking with Conley inside my patrol vehicle, he appeared nervous as he was constantly moving and talked excessively. I asked Conley the last time he had smoked marijuana, and he stated, ‘Uh, yesterday.’ I asked Conley if there was anything illegal in the Chrysler, and he stated there was not,” Vines wrote in his report. “I asked Conley for consent to search him and the Chrysler, and he granted consent.”
The officer asked Brandon, who was seated in the front passenger’s seat, if any drugs were inside the car, and Brandon reportedly answered that there were none that he was aware of.
After getting consent to search, Vines found a small digital scale in Brandon’s right jacket pocket and a bag containing a white crystalline substance that resembled methamphetamine in his right pants pocket.
While searching Brandon, the driver, Conley, signaled for the officer’s attention. Vines told him to roll down the window of the police vehicle.
‘I’m not going to lie…’
“Conley opened the window and stated, ‘Now, I’m not going to lie. There is a pipe that is up on the top half of uh, where the sun visor is. The sun visor where the lights are. It is mine. It’s just a little small one,’” Vines wrote.
The officer placed Brandon under arrest for possession of methamphetamine, directing the handcuffed suspect to his patrol vehicle.
At 1:21 p.m., about 20 minutes after Vines initiated the stop, Ozark County Deputy Justin Urich arrived on scene to assist.
When Vines asked Conley to show him where his pipe was located, “Conley pointed to a compartment in the roof of the Chrysler in between the sun visors. Before reaching into the Chrysler, I searched Conley’s person and located no contraband. I opened the compartment where Conley had advised me his pipe was, and inside I located a plastic container with a metal smoking device located inside the plastic container. The smoking device contained burnt marijuana,” Vines wrote.
Meth pipe, marijuana
Vines then addressed the two other passengers in the vehicle, James W. Bliss and Kaylee A. Isaac.
“While searching the Chrysler, I located a blue backpack in the floorboard in the second row. Located inside the backpack was a glass smoking device with a gray substance inside the bowl resembling smoked methamphetamine,” Vines wrote. “Also located inside the backpack were two plastic baggies containing marijuana.”
When the officer asked Conley who the backpack belonged to, Conley reportedly pointed to Brandon.
“I asked Brandon if the backpack belonged to him, and he stated,’Yes. Shouldn’t be nothing in it though.’”
Vines seized the contraband as evidence. It was forwarded to the MSHP laboratory for analysis. The officer then transported Brandon to the Ozark County Jail, where he was booked and released.