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Drugs, Firearm Seized, One Arrested


On Thursday, February 23, 2023, just before 9:00 a.m. The Newton County Sheriff's Office assisted the Jasper Police Department with a traffic stop in the Jasper city limits on a vehicle that was speeding through town and appeared to be attempting to evade Jasper Police.

While on the traffic stop and speaking with the driver, Newton County Sheriff's Office Investigator and Deputies noticed a suspicious substance and articles in the vehicle. Upon further investigation a search was conducted of the vehicle. During the search of the vehicle a large amount of "Kratom" was located in the vehicle along with other paraphernalia used to ingest, package and distribute the substance. Kratom, a Schedule I controlled substance in Arkansas, is a derivative of an Asian tree that can have both stimulant and opioid-like effects.

The driver, identified as 37-year-old Matthew Lawrence of Malvern, was questioned and admitted to purchasing the Kratom legally in Missouri and was bringing it back home to central Arkansas. Along with the Kratom a loaded firearm was also located in the vehicle in close proximity to the drugs.

The subject was taken into custody and the items were seized as evidence.

Upon further investigation the Kratom was weighted and totaled in amount to approximately 500 grams, or 1.1 pounds.

Due to the amount of the Kratom the subject was charged with Trafficking a Controlled Substance a class Y felony and due to the firearm being present was charged with Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms also a class Y felony.

The subject was booked at the Newton County Jail for the charges with a bond set by a Circuit Judge at $50,000.00.


End of release: Sheriff Glenn Wheeler