An early morning traffic stop resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of methamphetamine and the arrest of three by Clinton Police Tuesday, Aug. 22.


The event took place at 3:30 a.m. when an officer stopped by Walmart and spotted a SUV pulling a trailer and acting odd. The officer, already out of his car to go in the store, saw the truck come into the parking lot, travel a few feet before, apparently, seeing the officer, and pulling back out onto the road. The officer was struck by this and got back in his car, following the SUV, a 2006 Ford Expedition, as it pulled onto Quality Drive. There he clocked it at 40-plus mph in the 30 mph zone, coupled with a light out on one side of the trailer, and pulled it over.


Three men were in the SUV. The officer got the license from the driver, Christopher Carter, 50, of Clinton, who told him it was a friend’s SUV before handing over the insurance and registration paperwork. The front seat passenger gave a name, John Alexander, 27, also of Clinton, and the rear seat passenger handed over Tennessee ID showing him as Jed Stafford, 48, of Collierville, Tenn.


The officer, as is the norm in such matters, went back to his car to call in the information. There he found Carter’s license had been expired since April, and the license plate on the trailer showed it to be stolen from Fairfield Bay. A deputy was called for backup, as was City of Clinton Police Chief John Willoughby.


The officer went back to the SUV, and was told by Carter he had purchased the trailer from someone in Fairfield Bay, but could not recall the name. The officer had him step out of the SUV and put him under arrest. The officer had the other two men get out, one at a time, and they were handcuffed as well.


By now the deputy was onsight. An initial search was made and a three-wheeled ATV was found under a tarp on the trailer, having been, per the police report, “recently painted black.” Willoughby arrived and a cursory check of the SUV’s interior for stolen goods found a glass pipe with suspected methamphetamine residue on it. A small bag was in the driver’s door pocket, in it two smaller bag of white crystal powder, presumed to be meth. The drug task force was called to bring a K9 on site to search the car, and the dog reacted, showing possible additional drugs in the SUV, which was impounded.


The SUV was checked again on a rack at the impound yard. There officers found, in an eyeglass case attached by a magnet to the frame under the driver’s door, two bags of an estimated one ounce each, and three bags estimated three grams each, of a white powder presumed to be methamphetamine.


All three men were taken to jail.


“We’ve been after this one a long time,” Willoughby said.