HEFLIN — Heflin police seized a pound of methamphetamine and nearly a dozen guns in raids on two houses Friday morning, in what Chief Ross McGlaughn said is the most successful drug bust in the town in many years.
“I’ve been doing this 19 years, and this is one of the best results on a search warrant I’ve ever seen,” McGlaughn said.
Around 8 a.m. Friday, officers say, Heflin police, Cleburne deputies and a unit from the Oxford police department served search warrants simultaneously on a house on New Harmony Road and another house on Blake Street, both in Heflin.
Police said the raids were the result of about a year of police work, starting with tips from local residents concerned about traffic and loud noises at both houses, with more evidence coming in through smaller meth arrests in other parts of town.
At the Blake Street house, police arrested the house’s owner, Jerry Burnell, 41, who is now charged with methamphetamine trafficking; and his wife Nancy Burnell, 37, charged with possession of methamphetamine. Also arrested on drug possession charges at the site were 19-year-old Ashton Burnell, 18-year-old William Burney and 19-year-old Levi Sprayberry.
At a press conference at Heflin police headquarters Friday afternoon, items seized at the Blake Street house filled a table. Among them were a rock of methamphetamine big enough to be used as a doorstop and a bag of smaller meth rocks; together, they weighed in at just under 16 ounces.
McGlaughn said the meth would fetch about $44,000 on the street. Among the items seized in the bust were tiny ziploc bags big enough to hold a few grams of a substance.
Also picked up in the raid were 11 long guns, a pistol, $13,000 in cash and multiple green metal boxes of ammunition. Police on Friday afternoon had yet to count the rounds in the ammo boxes.
At the New Harmony Road house, police arrested 36-year-old Jessie Reese, who faces drug possession charges related to meth and marijuana, as well as a drug paraphernalia charge. Police said they found pieces of a firearm at Reese’s house, though they weren’t assembled.
When Heflin makes news for a drug bust, it’s typically due to a stop on Interstate 20, which runs through the south end of town. Raiding two houses at once was a sizable task for the Heflin department, which has 11 officers. McGlaughn was quick to note that about a dozen sheriff’s deputies were also involved in the raid, as well as officers from Oxford.
“We’re two small departments and it takes both teams,” said Cleburne chief deputy Jon Daniel.
Police said the meth seized Friday likely arrived here on the interstate, possibly from Mexico. McGlaughn said there was no indication it had been manufactured on Blake Street. Federal charges could be coming, he said.
Police said the people who were arrested went without a fight. Asked whether all the people at the house were indeed part of a drug operation — whether it’s possible to live in a house with a large amount of drugs and not know it — McGlaughn said the topic did come up in discussions after the raid. Given the amount of drugs found at the house, the chief said he didn’t believe it could be a secret to anyone living there.
“I can tell you there's a 100 percent chance you’re not going to find a pound of meth in my house,” McGlaughn said.