A Brazil man was arrested Monday for a second time for his alleged involvement in local drug activity.
Brazil City Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times Tuesday that officers became aware of Joseph W. Stearley's alleged drug activities during the investigation of a traffic stop involving several juveniles Dec. 26.
Officers discovered the unidentified juveniles had marijuana in the vehicle. And, after questioning them in the presence of their parents, they provided information that led to Stearley's residence at a local public housing complex.
When officers arrived at Lamplight Manor the next morning, they were given consent to search the home by Stearley.
During the search, according to Archer, officers found undisclosed amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana and paraphernalia.
Around 7 a.m., Dec. 27, Stearley, 35, was booked into the Clay County Justice Center on preliminary charges of dealing methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance and was issued a $50,000 cash bond.
Due to a delay in filing paperwork because of the holiday, Stearley was later released on his own recognizance on Dec. 29.
Officials confirmed to The Brazil Times that charging information has to be signed and presented to the courts within 48 hours of a suspect's arrest or they can be released
However, the charging information was used to obtain a bench warrant from Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout for Stearley's arrest on formal charges of two charges of possession of methamphetamine (one an A felony, the other a C felony), and one charge each of possession of paraphernalia (class D felony) and maintaining a common nuisance (class A misdemeanor).
Archer said the class A felony possession of methamphetamine charge was enhanced due to Stearley's residence being located within 1,000 feet of a public housing unit and Forest Park Elementary School.
If convicted of the A felony, the highest charge filed against Stearley at this time, the advisory sentence issued by the state for a guilty conviction/plea agreement ranges from 20-50 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Pleading not guilty in court, Stearley has been issued a preliminary jury trial date of May 4.
As of press time, he remains incarcerated on a $50,000 cash bond (no 10 percent allowed) awaiting further court proceedings.