It took a Phelps County jury a little more than an hour Tuesday to find a Rolla man guilty of illegally possessing methamphetamine.
According to a news release from the Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Arthur E. Bare, 47, of Rolla, was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison.
A Phelps County jury comprised of four men and eight women deliberated for just over an hour before finding Arthur E. Bare guilty of possession of a controlled substance. Bare, 47, of Rolla, was found guilty of illegally possessing methamphetamine.
On Dec. 8, 2009, officers with the South Central Drug Task Force, the Rolla Police Department and the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at Bare’s residence located in a Northwye trailer park.
When officers entered the trailer, Bare was the only person present.
During a search of the residence, a plastic straw containing meth and other items were seized. Bare later admitted to law enforcement officers that he was a meth user and that the straw belonged to him.
While Bare did not testify at the trial and no witnesses were presented on his behalf, Bare’s attorney argued that other people had access to the trailer. The attorney also said that because of the small amount of drugs located, Bare did not knowingly possess the controlled substance.
Bare’s attorney also pointed out that other items seized were not preserved by the state and that a written statement prepared for him by law enforcement officers did not mention the straw.
Phelps County Senior Assistant Prosecutor John Garrabrant told the jury that notwithstanding the passage of time and the small amount of drugs found, the jury was duty-bound to find Bare guilty if they believed he knowingly possessed the meth found in the straw.
Garrabrant pointed out the need for strict enforcement of laws relating to meth and characterized meth as “a blight on our community” and “a cancer that grows unless it is aggressively attacked.”
25th Circuit Judge William Hickle presided over the one-day trial Tuesday.
Bare remains free on bond.
Sentencing has been set for Nov. 7, 2013. Because Bare was found to be a prior felony offender, sentencing was not submitted to the jury and will be left up to Hickle.
Phelps County Prosecutor John Beger was complimentary of the efforts of both the law enforcement officers and Garrabrant.
“I prosecuted Arthur Bare for felony escape from custody the last time I served as prosecutor back in 1993,” Beger said. “It is unfortunate that he has gotten mixed up with meth. He was offered the alternative of probation with treatment. His refusal of that offer, I think he will find, was a mistake.”