Four arrested on drug charges when van stopped; deadly heroin seized PDF Print E-mail

A combination of potentially deadly heroin laced with Fentanyl was allegedly found in the possession of one of four people arrested by Austin Patrolman John T. Smith late Wednesday afternoon, June 14.


Ptl. Smith stated in a probable cause affidavit that he stopped a maroon Dodge mini-van with an improperly displayed license plate at the corner of Church Street and Gary Avenue around 5:15 p.m.

He noted that he observed the four occupants of the vehicle to be “…leaning, reaching in multiple directions as if hiding or moving items…” when he initially activated his emergency lights.The officer first talked with the van driver, Robert William Couch, 33, Austin. He said Couch told him that his driver license was suspended and that he and his girlfriend, identified as passenger Melissa Ann Tackett, 26, Canaan, had just bought the van.

Austin Detective Don Campbell arrived on scene to assist Pt. White. Det. Campbell began talking to the other occupants, Tackett and friends Iris E. Bannister, 24, and Benjamin David McIntosh, 30, both of Crothersville.

When told McIntosh had a handgun, Ptl. White advised Det. Campbell of the situation and the two women were ordered out of the van and to lie on the ground. McIntosh was led out of the van after he placed his hands on his head as instructed.

As McIntosh was exiting the van, Ptl. White said he saw a loaded syringe lying next to the front passenger seat where Tackett had been sitting. Its contents tested positively for the narcotic drug codeine, the officer stated.

As the patrolman began searching the van, he said he found a small bag hidden under the driver’s seat. It contained multiple syringes and a spoon “…with white lumps on it…” as well as a used cotton filter and a pocket knife. A Smith and Wesson Iberia 40 handgun was allegedly found in McIntosh’s backpack.

Tackett denied possession of the loaded syringe as did her friends. No one claimed ownership of the small bag either. The “lumps” tested positively for narcotics as well, the affidavit said.

All were placed in custody and transported to the Scott County Security Center. As McIntosh was being processed, a jailer at the facility stated he found 8.28 grams of what McIntosh told him was heroin “…that may contain some Fentanyl…” Fentanyl is an opiate by which heroin users have been known to die after ingesting. It is commonly used as an anesthetic for surgical patients.

McIntosh has been charged with Level 4 felony possession of a narcotic drug, Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle and misdemeanors of carrying a handgun without a license and visiting a common nuisance.

Couch and Tackett were charged with Level 6 possession of a narcotic drug, unlawful possession of a syringe and maintaining a common nuisance. Bannister was also charged with possession of a narcotic drug and unlawful possession of a syringe and a misdemeanor charge of visiting a common nuisance.

All were in Scott Circuit Court on Friday, June 16 for initial hearings.  An initial jury trial date of September 11 was assigned to each of the cases. Bail for Bannister and Tackett was set at $15,000 by corporate surety bond or $1,500 cash. For Couch, bail was set at $25,000 by surety bond or $2,500 in cash; McIntosh’s bail is $50,000 by surety bond or $5,000 cash.

Petitions for detainer were filed against both men by the Prosecutor’s Office. Both had been placed on parole from earlier cases in October, 2016. The detainers allow the State to hold the men for 15 days without bond.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:00