Animal control officer busted for meth
A Nevada County Sheriff’s Animal Control officer was arrested Friday at a motel on Highway 49 for possession of methamphetamine.
Officer Arlene Winstead, 39, was leaving the motel on the 13000 block of Highway 49 in her county vehicle when officers from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force stopped her and found an unknown amount of methamphetamine and two crank pipes in her possession.
“She was also carrying her department-issued weapon,” said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. “We don’t take this lightly.”
Royal said investigators recently received “intelligence” that Winstead had been involved in drug activity, and the task force had been investigating her before Friday’s arrest.
Royal said the motel where Winstead was arrested is known by deputies to be a place of frequent drug activity, and Winstead had no county-related business at the motel Friday.
Royal said Winstead began working for Nevada County Animal Control in 1998. The Sheriff’s Office took over administration of Animal Control in 2002.
Because Winstead worked for the agency before the sheriff took over and she is not a sworn deputy, she has not undergone any drug testing.
Winstead appeared to deputies to be under the influence of a controlled substance when she was stopped Friday.
She has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, being armed while in possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance, driving while under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“We take this sort of thing seriously, and we’re not going to tolerate it,” Royal said Friday.
He said in addition to the criminal investigation into Winstead, his office is performing an internal investigation. In the meantime, he said, Winstead has been placed on administrative leave.
“These allegations are grounds for termination,” he said.
Winstead was booked into Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on $11,365 bail.
She posted bond and was released later in the day. Her arraignment in Nevada County Superior court has not yet been scheduled.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4236.
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