Street Value Estimated at $40K

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Last week, it was reported two people – Jody Lee Baker, 44, and Mary Karin Low, 32 –  were both arrested after a traffic stop yielded over a pound of methamphetamine in the vehicle they were traveling.

At the time, a third person traveling with Baker and Low was released at the scene because of a medical condition. The same third person – James Watson,40, from Grapeland – was taken into custody on Friday, Sept. 21 and charged with possession of a controlled substance, penalty group one and possession of a controlled substance, penalty group three.

According to a press release received from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Watson, Baker and Low were stopped in Grapeland by HCSO Deputy Matthew VanEgmond at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17 for a traffic violation.

Once the stop was initiated, Deputy VanEgmond attempted to make contact with the driver of the vehicle. Baker – the driver – fled on foot.

“A chase ensued and Deputy VanEgmond apprehended Baker and placed him under arrest for evading arrest,” the media statement reported.

During the pursuit, Baker cut across several residential lawns. A witness who observed the chase “… reported seeing Baker attempt to hide a container on a tire that was parked in their yard.  The container contained substances believed to be methamphetamine, several pills, later identified as Xanax, and syringes.”

The deputy returned to his patrol vehicle and placed Baker in the back seat. VanEgmond next returned to the vehicle he had stopped and made contact with the two passengers, an affidavit of probable cause stated.

The two passengers were identified as Mary Katrin Low and James Watson. Lt. Ronnie Howell with the Grapeland Police Department assisted in the arrest and placed Low in the backseat of his patrol unit, while Watson was requested to exit the vehicle.

VanEgmond returned to the vehicle to initiate a search but discovered the Ford F-150 was locked. The key to the vehicle was eventually found by Howell and the search was started.

“During the search,” Howell reported, “I discovered a white plastic bag in the rear floorboard of the vehicle. Inside the plastic bag was a purple Crown Royal brand bag. I opened it to find multiple containers.”

He added, “There was a blue, plastic container in the bag, which contained several syringes and a clear plastic baggy with a white crystal-like substance inside, believed to be methamphetamine. Also discovered in the baggy was a small yellow, vinyl bag. Inside of the yellow bag was a clear glass container containing a white, crystal-like substance, believed to be methamphetamine.”

The substance was field tested and the results indicated a positive result for meth which weighed in at a total weight of 463 grams.

Once Baker had been apprehended, Low was questioned and it was learned she had a warrant for her arrest for making a false report to a peace officer. She was also charged with possession of controlled substance, penalty group one, in an amount equal to or greater than 400 grams.

Baker was charged with possession of controlled substance, penalty group one, in an amount equal to or greater than 400 grams, evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance, penalty group three in an amount less than 28 grams.

Watson was charged with possession of controlled substance, penalty group one, in an amount equal to or greater than 400 grams and possession of a controlled substance, penalty group three in an amount less than 28 grams.

Because of the amount of weight involved in the drug bust, the possession of a controlled substance penalty group one charge is considered as a first degree felony.

According to Section 12.32 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than five years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”

The total bond for Low was set at $36,500 while bond for Baker has been set at $45,000. Watson was released on self-recognizance because of a medical condition.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.