Last week, we reported on the story of various Sheriffs from the state of Alabama, who were caught pocketing over $110,000 in taxpayer money that was allocated for feeding inmates in local county jails. In that story, we quoted a statement that a local landscaper by the name of Matt Qualls gave to AL.com, where he said that he was paid to mow Sheriff Todd Entrekin’s lawn with checks that were originally written out to the county jail food fund.
Just days after his statement was published he was arrested on multiple counts, including trumped-up drug trafficking charges. Police claim they received an “anonymous tip” that a Rainbow City apartment smelled like marijuana. Police came in full-force with a whole team of officers who were able to force themselves into the apartment when one of Quall’s friends opened the door. Once inside, the police found a very small amount of actual marijuana but found of two pounds of marijuana butter, a mixture where other ingredients are responsible for the majority of the weight.
The story that this was just some random occurrence brought on by an “anonymous tip” is unlikely, and it seems like this was a preplanned operation. To make matters even more suspicious, the warrant for the search was signed by Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin, the officer who Quall exposed in his interview the week before. There was a warrant for the apartment where he was caught, as well as his personal address. His relation to the property where he was arrested is not yet clear.
Entrekin is also attempting to make the penalties as steep as possible, going so far as to twist the evidence to bring additional charges against Quall.
Rainbow City Police Capt. John Bryant told AL.com that Qualls was only being charged with second-degree marijuana possession, possessing drug paraphernalia and felony possession of a controlled substance. Bryant said that Quall would not be charged for the full weight of the butter.
“Our guys just charged him with possession. You wouldn’t add the butter with that. It should be just the amount of marijuana … You can’t add the butter, it would just be the marijuana alone,” Bryant said Monday.
However, Entrekin’s task force wants to count the entire weight of the butter towards the charge, which would mean very serious drug trafficking charges that would carry serious jail time, as the full weight of the butter comes out to over two pounds.
Phil Sims, deputy commander of the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit, told AL.com that the department was bringing additional charges against Qualls, and was considering the stash to be 1,042 grams or just under 2.3 pounds of cannabis.
“Once that marijuana was mixed with the butter then the whole butter becomes marijuana, and that’s what we weighed,” Sims said.
Qualls said that it took them just 14 grams of actual cannabis to make the butter, and police only found a very small amount of cannabis flower in the house. However, due to the weight of the butter, he is now being hit with another paraphernalia charge, another felony possession charge, and a felony drug trafficking charge.
The state of Alabama is notorious for putting people in jail for life over drug trafficking charges so this could be very serious if that charge ends up sticking.
Image: Etowah County Sheriff’s Office
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