When 38-year-old Bradford Ford pulled into the Airport Thruway Walmart's parking lot Saturday night to allegedly hand off 140 grams of methamphetamine, the Columbus Police Special Operations Unit was waiting for him.
Ford, who is charged with trafficking nearly three pounds of meth, faced additional charges of possession of a controlled substance and drug related objects during a Monday morning Recorder's Court. His girlfriend, 31-year-old Jessica Parsons, faced the same charges, as she was arrested during a search of Ford's home.
The bust started, an agent told the court, after investigators received information from "a reliable source" that Ford was planning on selling meth at the 2801 Airport Thruway Walmart.
Ford was found in the parking lot, still inside his vehicle. After police detained Ford, a K-9 unit pointed officers toward Ford's alleged meth hiding place — a brown shopping bag in the front passenger floorboard with $14,000 worth of meth.
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Though Ford withdrew his initial plea of guilty during the hearing, officers contend it was Ford's cooperation that allowed agents to seize an additional 1,192.2 grams of meth.
At Walmart, he allegedly told police he was waiting to drop off the drugs to another man for $60,000. That person was never apprehended.
Later, at the police station, Ford told agents they could find almost $120,000 worth of meth, along with more than $20,000, at his 7500 Edgewater Drive residence.
The next morning, agents executed a search warrant at the Edgewater Drive house, where Ford lives with his parents. Ford had given agents a basic layout of the home and said they could find the drugs in a camouflage Duffle bag in his bedroom.
However, when police arrived, Parsons told police she had thrown the drugs away.
According to officers, Ford instructed his girlfriend to clear the house of evidence if ever he did not answer his phone in a timely manner. She allegedly admitted to doing so, and shoved the large amount of meth, some synthetic marijuana, syringe, spoons, scales and hydrocodone into a trash can in the back yard. Inthe bedroom, police said they also found more than $25,000, $9,000 of which was under Parson's pillow. The total weight of the meth was 2.91 pounds, one of the largest hauls the Special Operations Unit has made.
Due to the volume of meth agents found between Ford and Parsons, Judge Michael Cielinski set no bond for both's meth arrest. They were both given a $101,000 bond on the remaining charges. Their cases will be forwarded to Muscogee County Superior Court.