Drug Task Force arrests meth dealer who sold near preschool

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Drug Task Force arrested a woman Friday for distribution of methamphetamine in a drug-free zone.

The task force arrested Melody Stahl, of St. George, following an investigation in which officers implemented two controlled methamphetamine buys, St. George Police Capt. Kyle Whitehead said.

Melody Stahl booking photo posted Oct. 17, 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News
Melody Stahl of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Oct. 17, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The controlled drug buys from Stahl were made on two separate occasions in July, Officer Matt Schuman wrote in a probable cause statement supporting the arrest. The buys were also conducted within 1,000 feet of a preschool — a drug-free zone — which enhanced Stahl’s charges.

When investigating a dealer who supplies large amounts of drugs, agencies like the task force will conduct multiple buys to better secure a case against an offender, Whitehead said. This is why Stahl was not arrested after the first controlled buy.

“If somebody just has one charge on them, a lot of times it doesn’t get looked at with the severity that multiple drug charges (would),” Whitehead said.

Oftentimes, Whitehead said, the number of controlled buys implemented by an agency before an arrest can be three, four or even more.

If a person has just one charge, they can be looked at as maybe having made a mistake or being down on their luck, Whitehead said. This can sometimes give the impression that perhaps they are not such a bad or dangerous person.

“The people we target in the task force are people that we know do this consistently,” Whitehead said. “We don’t just go after the people who are down on their luck. These are people who are bringing large amounts of drugs into our community.”

This strategy of combating major drug deals can also help keep confidential police informants safe, Whitehead said. If offenders are facing multiple charges and have multiple cases against them, they are less likely to go through the entire trial process and will instead plead guilty.

If a full trial is avoided, the names and identities of informants are safer, Whitehead said.

“The main aspect for us is that we know these people are significant dealers and we want them to be held accountable for what they are doing,” Whitehead said, “not just getting a little slap on the hand.”

Stahl was arrested on two second-degree felony counts of distribution of methamphetamine in a drug-free zone. She was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on $40,000 bail and remains in custody at the time of this publication.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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16 Comments

  • ladybugavenger October 22, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you st george news for the detailed report. Just about anywhere in this town is a “drug free zone” just sayin’ thank you for doing your controlled buys near a preschool. Wowzer, sheis tore up. Put a poster at the preschool with her mugshot on it as a campaign for ” see, this is why you shouldn’t use meth kids”

  • Jimmijamm October 22, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    On the back of lowering the charge…..She looks pretty down on her luck….These drug dealers are killing me!….Thanks for getting them off the street!

  • My Evil Twin October 22, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Looks like Stahl is not your “normal garden variety granny!”

  • groanattack October 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Beware the SCUZ that live amongst you!

  • Zonkerb October 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Go to Worthen park or smiths foodking parking lot with the rest of the drug dealers

  • Mark October 23, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Those darn illegals, doing jobs Americans won’t do.

  • Chuck Brown October 23, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Good Job Office Whitehead, lets keep our communities safe and drug free..we need to get these Meth heads in jail and some help while in jail..Drugs destroy families, communities, children and the person themselves…God Bless the Addicts for they need extra help..

  • ScanMeister October 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    July sale and not arrested til now. I know they don’t want to burn their CI on the wire.

  • JAR October 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

    While traveling across country awhile back, This little town in Texas (similar to St. George), had this open air jail cell set up right in the center of town. Dealers, drunks, etc. were placed in that ‘open for all to see cell’, (with a offence sign posted) during the day lite hours. Hey look! Jack ass got caught again.
    The ACLU might think it’s cruel and inhumane, but I think the arrested just might get the point eventually.

    • Koolaid October 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

      In St George, they’d probably give them an air conditioned room, meals and other comforts and signs that say “This person needs a fundraiser!”

      • sagemoon October 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        How about a notice to ward members to say prayers, a visit from the bishopric, and a casserole delivered by the relief society president?

  • taintofgreatness October 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    @ mark-your comment is irrelevant. tweakers suck. yuck she is haggard

  • myst October 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    JAR- That’s what I’m talking about!! and MARK – do you feel better for saying that?

  • Maudie Fricker October 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    LOL JAR, Koolaid and Sagemoon!! True Dat!!!

  • Not buying it October 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Obviously she is just a user trading back and forth with other users and the task force wants all you sheeple to believe they got another cartell ringleader off the street.
    I’m not buying it.

  • cali October 24, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t know who off. Whitehead is (task force? Media info guy?) but the drug dealers are probably happy about him giving the task force names to the media as well as how they do business so they won’t get caught next time. But good job for small town folks. I’m sure you’ll learn eventually and do an even better job if you keep practicing.

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