A Clark County jury sentenced a Hot Springs man to a total of 57 years on four separate criminal offenses following a single day trial last week.

A Clark County jury sentenced a Hot Springs man to a total of 57 years on four separate criminal offenses following a single day trial last week.
Sgt. Roy Bethell of the Caddo Valley Police Department encountered John Dunn in the early morning hours of July 9, 2014 in the parking lot of the former Valero service station in Caddo Valley. Shortly after contact with Dunn, Sgt. Bethell discovered that Dunn’s vehicle had multiple tags from different states displayed on the vehicle. Bethell noticed that the license plates on the front and back of the vehicle were also covering other license plates. Upon further investigation, one of the license plates returned to another vehicle registered to an Arizona resident. Bethell further noticed that the steering column in the vehicle was damaged.
Upon questioning, Dunn advised that the vehicle had previously been stolen and was unable to produce evidence of liability insurance for the vehicle. Dunn’s Arizona driver’s license was suspended and Bethell discovered active arrest warrants for Dunn issued from Arizona.
Dunn was taken into custody and an inventory search of his vehicle was conducted. During the vehicle inventory, Bethell found suspected methamphetamine, numerous items of drug paraphernalia commonly associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine and a loaded 7mm rifle.
Detectives Blake Forga and Brent Whitworth with the Group 6 Drug Task Force were contacted to assist in the investigation. The suspected drugs and associated paraphernalia were collected as evidence and submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for further testing. State Crime Lab reports confirmed that the substance was methamphetamine and further identified coffee filters contaminated with methamphetamine residue, iodine and phosphorus.
During the trial, jurors heard testimony from Bethell, Forga and Whitworth concerning the evidence obtained and surrounding circumstances. Dan Heges, a forensic chemist with the State Crime Lab, further testified about the nature of the testing and substances, and also testified about the methamphetamine manufacturing process.
Following the testimony, the jury returned verdicts of guilt against Dunn for the offenses of Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Criminal Attempt to Manufacture Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine. The jury further recommended that the sentences imposed be served concurrently.
The case was presented by Clark County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Dan Turner. “We are obviously pleased with the verdict returned by the jury,” Turner stated.
Turner added, “What is even more encouraging than the verdict is the fact that we live in a community that does not tolerate this kind of criminal behavior. I’m proud that our juries impose stiff consequences for drugs and the dangers that accompany manufacturing methamphetamine.”
Turner also praised local law enforcement for their diligent and thorough investigation in the case. “We are fortunate to have such experienced and professional law enforcement in Clark County. This case involved the cooperation of the Caddo Valley Police Department together the Arkadelphia Police Department, Group 6 Drug Task Force and Clark County Sheriff’s Department. That cooperation along with the experience of our local law enforcement officers certainly make Clark County a safer place for our families and children.”