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.
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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