Update: Fire investigators find meth, cocaine while investigating fire at Rose Hill Apartments; soldier and roommate face charges

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 5, 2013 

Update (Wednesday, 1:26 p.m.)

The men who watched fire fighters douse a fire at their second floor apartment at Rose Hill Apartments Tuesday faced distribution and possession charges for meth Wednesday during a 9 a.m. Recorder's Court hearing.

Slayden Nolen, 45, and Brandon Shepard, 21, faced final charges of possession of drug related objects, possession of cocaine and meth and possession of drugs with intent to distribute Wednesday after a fire occurred at their apartment Tuesday at about 1:13 p.m. The fire caused damage to the front and rear of the two story building, and appeared to have started in the attic.

Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said investigators are still determining the cause of the fire.

Officer William Lowry told the court that he and Officer Adam Moyer responded to the scene in reference to the fire and were directing traffic while fire fighters quenched the flames coming from Nolen and Shepard's apartment. Later, Fire Investigator Monica Carstarphen approached Lowry and Moyer and said she had found drugs and drug related objects within the apartment.

In Shepard's bedroom, Carstarphen allegedly found a blue case open on the bed which contained about 100 baggies and a smoking pipe. Inside a couch in the same room, officers found a black bag with approximately ten grams of crack cocaine, plastic straws, a set of digital scales and pipes.

A search of Nolen's room revealed 0.2 grams of methamphetamine under the bed, in addition to smoking devices.

When officers questioned Shepard, who is a soldier with the U.S. Army, he told them that Nolen had only been staying with him for a short time and that his roommate must have hidden drugs in both of their rooms. He did not admit to taking any drugs.

Although Lowry said he did not know how the two men know each other, Shepard reportedly told Lowry that Nolen lived with him because "he needed someone to wake him up in the morning."

Nolen allegedly told police that he smoked both marijuana and meth, although he had not taken meth in the past few days. He claimed possession of the meth, but said he did not own any cocaine.

Lowry said police also found credit cards belonging to an unrelated woman in Nolen's wallet.

The cocaine was valued at $110. The meth was valued at $20.

Judge Michael Cielinski set bond for both men at $11,000. Their case will be forwarded to Muscogee County Superior Court.

Update (Wednesday, 6:37 a.m.):

Two men were arrested for possession of cocaine Tuesday while police and fire officials investigated a fire that started on the second floor of Rose Hill Apartments at 2910 Hamilton Road.

The report did not say how much cocaine was seized or whether the cocaine was found inside the apartment that was burning. Slayden Nolen, 45, and Brandon Shepard, 21, were both arrested at about 3:30 p.m. during the course of the investigation.

Both men face charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the report. The Muscogee County Jail online registry also states Shepard faces charges of possession of drug related objects and manufacturing.

Nolen and Brandon were transported to Muscogee County Jail.

Original story:

Officials are investigating a fire at an apartment complex on Hamilton Road.

The Columbus Fire Department responded to a call at 1:13 p.m. about a fire at Rose Hill Apartments, 2910 Hamilton Road. A truck from Fire Station 2 arrived just a few minutes later. According to Fire Marshal Ricky Shores there was a lot of fire and heavy smoke when they arrived.

With two engines they were able to put the fire out pretty quick. Shores was unable to give a specific cause but said the fire appears to have started in the attic.

A few people were treated by EMS but Shores was not aware of any serious injuries.

The most damage appears to be in the unit furthest away from Hamilton Road, near 29th and 30th streets. There's visible damage to the apartment on the top floor -- with some windows busted out -- the staircase and the back of the unit. The building has eight apartments. The complex, Shores said, is owned by Thayer Properties.

Chief Jeff Meyer was on the scene, where several kids were outside the complex.

Officials began around 2:30 p.m. to clean some debris out of the apartment and put out some possible smaller fires that may be in the roof.

Stay with ledger-enquirer.com for more details.

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