Two men face felony drug charges following a sting involving the Department of Homeland Security and a dealer quantity of methamphetamine seized in a Walmart parking lot.
Eric James Blanchard, 31, and Thomas Lee Best, 37, each face felony counts of delivering, manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine after they allegedly arranged a deal for a quarter-pound of meth with an undercover Seattle-based Homeland Security special agent, according to documents filed by the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force in Jackson County Circuit Court. Blanchard allegedly negotiated a price of $3,000 with the undercover agent.
The documents allege that Blanchard, of Central Point, messaged the special agent a photograph of the drugs in a Ziploc bag just prior to the exchange outside the South Medford Walmart. Best drove Blanchard to the hand-off location, where MADGE officers arrested them just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, police say.
A search of the vehicle Best was driving yielded $3,161 in cash, a handgun concealed in the vehicle's center console and three baggies of meth weighing a total of 121.26 grams, about 4.3 ounces, police allege. Blanchard and Best each face a felony charge of first-degree theft in the case, alleging that the firearm seized in the center console was stolen.
Best, of Ashland, was released on his own recognizance from the Jackson County Jail Wednesday evening. He has no prior felony convictions in Jackson County, court records show.
Blanchard faces an additional felony charge of felon in possession of a firearm. His criminal history includes a 2005 second-degree robbery conviction and a 2014 third-degree assault conviction. He has a pending felony meth-possession charge from 2016 and a pending misdemeanor meth-possession conviction from September of this year. Blanchard remained lodged in the jail Thursday without bail.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.