By Alex Kienlen Contributing Editor
Federal charges are being filed against a Quitman man after a large methamphetamine seizure followed an Oct. 23 traffic stop.
Named is Branden Lee Brewer, 43, of Quitman. He is current held in Pulaski County Jail listed as “Held by U.S. Marshalls for the Drug Enforcement Administration.” Online Federal Court records show Brewer is being held pending trial by the Arkansas Eastern District Federal Court.
Drugs with an estimated value of over $400,000 was recovered, as well as 34 guns and $17,000 in counterfeit currency during the investigation.
The Cleburne County Sheriff’s office stated it had begun an investigation of Brewer after receiving a tip in May that he was trafficking narcotics and other illegal items into the county. The office opened a joint investigation, which initially included the Drug Enforcement Administration, 16th Judicial Drug Task Force and Heber Springs Police Department.
The investigation determined Brewer was going out of state to pick up drugs and bringing them back to Cleburne County.
On Oct. 23 just after midnight, Arkansas State Police stopped Brewer on Interstate 30 just outside Malvern for driving 76 in a 70 mph speed zone. His 2018 Chevrolet pickup truck was searched and eight pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated value of $358,400 was recovered. He was charged with trafficking controlled substance. A gun was found and he was also charged at that time with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. An affidavit states Brewer had a “large quantity” of cash when he was stopped.
Based on the traffic stop, search warrants were gained for Brewer’s Cleburne County business and a storage unit in Heber Spring. An additional warrant was gained for his Faulkner County home, also in Quitman.
Drugs were found in both the business, and in a trailer in the storage unit. Thirty four guns, including three stolen guns, were also found, as well as $17,000 in counterfeit US bills, per the Cleburne County Sheriff’s office. Officers also found “a complete clandestine methamphetamine lab” during the search.
Total drugs confiscated have an estimated valued of $408,604, including $50,204 of narcotics and the $358,400 in methamphetamine found during Brewer’s traffic stop.
Listed as confiscated drugs in the Cleburne County statement:
Ecstasy pills – Approximately 750 grams (almost 2 pounds) – approximate value $30,000
MDMA powder (used to make ecstasy pills) – Approximately 1.3 ounces (38 grams) – approximate value $1,520
LSD – Approximately 250 “hits” – approximate value $3,750
Heroin – Approximately 2 ounces (60 grams) – approximate value $6,000
Fentanyl – Approximately 1.2 ounces (35 grams) – approximate value $1,750
Crack Cocaine – Approximately .5 ounces (15 grams) – approximate value $1,500
Oxycodone – Approximately 4 ounces (116 grams) – approximate value $5,220
Xanax – Approximately 2.1 ounces (62 grams) – approximate value $1,984
Methamphetamine – Approximately 8 pounds (mutual seizure with DEA/ASP) – approximate value $358,400
Faulkner County Sheriff’s office, with 20th Judicial Drug Task Force, Quitman Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration searched Brewer’s home and found two binders with instructions for making methamphetamine as well as two handguns and a backpack containing 11 handgun ammunition magazines.
A search warrant affidavit states Brewer had recently purchased a “large quantity of ether” from a Cleburne County part store “…. which is commonly used in conversion labs in the methamphetamine manufacturing process for distribution.”
Four “motorcycle jackets” are also listed as seized from the Faulkner County home. Brewer’s social media shows an active participation in motorcycle club activities.
Binders with meth instructions found in Quitman home
Authorities seized firearms and binders with instructions on how to make methamphetamine from a Quitman residence on Oct. 23.
A 20th Judicial Drug Task Force agent sought a search warrant for a residence on Brewer Hill off Highway 107 in conjunction with an investigation the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office was heading.
According to the search warrant affidavit, a Cleburne County deputy had launched an investigation against Brandon Brewer of Quitman, who owns a business in Cleburne County but lives in Faulkner County. After the Quitman man was arrested in Malvern early in the morning on Oct. 23, local authorities sought a search warrant to see if Brewer had methamphetamine hidden at his house.
Police suspected the Quitman man could have drugs at his residence given the large quantity of methamphetamine – about 8 pounds – he had with him when he was pulled over in Malvern by an Arkansas State Police trooper on Oct. 23, the affidavit states.
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“Brewer also had in his possession a firearm and a large unknown amount of U.S. currency that was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration,” the affidavit reads in part. “After speaking with Field Agents from [the] DEA, information was given that Brewer had purchased a very large quantity of Ether from a local parts store in Cleburne County, Arkansas which is commonly used in conversion labs in the methamphetamine manufacturing process for distribution.”
Online records show the search warrant was conducted at Brewer’s residence at 12:09 p.m. Oct. 23 after Circuit Judge H.G. Foster approved the search warrant request. Authorities completed the search by 2:27 p.m. and seized two handguns, a backpack with 11 magazines, two binders “containing paperwork on how to manufacture methamphetamine” as well as four motorcycle jackets as evidence, according to the search warrant inventory list.