Monday, February 24, 2020

Sallisaw Man Charged with Drug Trafficking

A Sallisaw man was arrested Feb. 7 and charged with trafficking in illegal drugs, a felony.

James Paul Cripps, 22, was arrested at an apartment complex at 307 S. JT Stites Blvd. in Sallisaw.

A police report shows that law enforcement officials had received information that Cripps was selling methamphetamine and that he had a backpack containing a fake Dasani water bottle that unscrewed in the middle that he used to store the drugs.

On Feb. 7, Sallisaw police officers went to the apartment complex and spoke with Cripps girlfriend. She stated that Cripps was not home. When asked if they could search the apartment the girlfriend asked the officers if they had a warrant. The officers told her they didn’t, but would be back in 20-30 minutes with one in hand.

The officers left the residence and drove to the RedBird Smith Health Center, where they were able to keep an eye on the apartment. A short time later, a silver SUV driving erratically pulled into the parking lot and parked in front of Apartment 28. A man the officers recognized as Cripps left the vehicle and ran to the apartment. A few minutes later, Cripps emerged carrying a black and yellow backpack.

The officers drove back toward the complex while watching Cripps, who was walking fast, almost jogging, as he went upstairs to an apartment at another building in the same complex. Cripps walked inside the apartment with the backpack, but when he left shortly afterward, he did not have it. Cripps then returned to Apartment 28 and went inside.

The officers went to the apartment Cripps had entered and knocked on the door. The man who answered the knock told officers someone had entered the unlocked apartment while he was indisposed and left soon thereafter. When the man went to the front door, he spotted the backpack sitting in a chair. He gave the backpack to police.

When the officers looked inside the backpack, they discovered and opened the Dasani bottle, which contained a zippered baggie with a crystalline substance inside it.

Officers returned to Apartment 28 and spoke with Cripps, who eventually described everything inside the backpack. A later search of the pack revealed not only the Dasani bottle, but also a fake Monster can that contained a lot of empty baggies, a gas mask, two torch lighters, a can of butane, a black Wahl bag that contained two glass smoking devices and more.

Cripps was booked in to the Sallisaw City Jail. The crystalline substance field-tested positive for meth.

A check of Cripps’ criminal history showed that he had been convicted of two previous felonies. He completed drug court in 2018.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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