Tuesday, Russell County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit agents ended the long search for suspected meth trafficker Royce Adam Oakes.
Investigators began their hunt for 37-year-old Oakes in March, after intercepting a 36 ounce methamphetamine shipment. That shipment, valued at $100,800, led agents to release warrants for criminal attempt to traffick meth and unlawful possession of marijuana in the first degree.
When narcotics agents, led by Sgt. Mike Loyless, attempted to apprehend Oakes Tuesday afternoon at Crawford Road's Abercrombie Apartments, Oakes attempted to escape in his vehicle. The chase was cut short, however, when the vehicle lost a wheel, forcing him to flee on foot.
Narcotics agents arrested Oakes in the wood line near Dillingham Street and Franchise Missionary Baptist Church. A subsequent search revealed Oakes was carrying six ounces of "ice" grade meth, separated into two ounce packages, Sheriff Heath Taylor said during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
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"Ice is to meth what crack is to cocaine," Taylor said. "Crack cocaine is a cooked, purified form of cocaine. Ice is the same thing for meth."
That meth was later valued at $16,800, he said.
"You know, six ounces of ice in our community is a significant amount," Taylor said. "I'm extremely proud of the drug unit for locating and working on Mr. Oakes."
Oakes is no stranger to the Russell County Sheriff's Office. He was first arrested on April 15, 2010 for possession of less than a gram of meth and one Xanax pill. Since then, he has been arrested twice by Sheriff's Office deputies and at least four times by Phenix City Police Department officers on drug related charges.
On Nov. 1, 2013, Taylor said Oakes was arrested after he was found in possession of more than three ounces of meth, valued at $9,370. He was additionally charged with possession of four ecstasy pills, valued at $160, and one Hydrocodone pill, valued at $10.
Oakes was out on bond for those charges when he arrested Tuesday, Taylor said. Those bonds have since been revoked, he said.
"(Oakes) has obviously been a substantial meth dealer in our community for a long time," Taylor said. "Hopefully this will be enough to put Mr. Oakes away for a long time."
During Thursday's press conference, Taylor praised Loyless' diligence in tracking Oakes' activities.
"This is a significant arrest," Taylor said. "We're excited that the drug unit was able to capture him and put him behind bars, hopefully reduce the meth community substantially and make us a little bit safer."