His first week back on the job, a Jackson County sheriff's deputy who had been on medical leave for nearly two years recovered a large quantity of narcotics, as well as two firearms, after a foot chase in Kenna.
Deputy Luke Casto arrested Justin Timothy Rogers, 36, 116 Haywood Lane, Mountainview Arkansas, on two counts of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.
Rogers also had two warrants charging him with grand larceny and transferring/receiving stolen property, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court.
Magistrate Laura Pursley set Rogers' bond at $50,000.
Casto recently returned to the job from medical leave due to an injury he received in January 2017 chasing a drug suspect on foot, said Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger.
"This arrest is exactly the type of work Luke did before he went on leave," he said. "It just goes to show you what somebody with drive and ambition can do. No matter how bad the setback is, the comeback is always better.
On Friday, Nov. 2, Casto received a tip that Rogers was in the Kenna area driving a white Ford truck pulling a trailer carrying a red Ford Focus. Casto had received information that Rogers was dealing crystal methamphetamine throughout the county and that he always carried a firearm, according to the criminal complaint.
Casto went to Emma Road in Kenna to the home of an individual who allegedly bought methamphetamine from Rogers. The Ford truck was in the driveway. As Casto approached the vehicle, he saw two individuals in the front seat and identified the person in the driver's seat as Rogers.
Casto saw Rogers place a black container in the back seat of the truck. He asked Rogers to step out of the vehicle with his hands in view, but Rogers exited the vehicle and fled on foot.
Casto gave chase and ordered Rogers to stop several times. Rogers fell to the ground as Casto was catching up to him.
Rogers sprung to his feet and faced Casto in what Casto believed to be an act of aggression. As a result, Casto used a Taser X26 to subdue Rogers and place him in custody.
The other individual fled on foot as Casto was apprehending Rogers. Casto said he asked Rogers why he ran and if he knew about the warrants for his arrest.
Rogers allegedly stated he did not know he had warrants in Jackson County and that he was scared because he had a "small" amount of methamphetamine in his vehicle.
Casto found on Rogers a Springfield 45-caliber handgun, which was loaded with a round in the chamber. At that time, deputies B.A. DeWees and J.T. Hurt arrived to assist.
DeWees looked in the vehicle and saw a smoking device consistent with the consumption of narcotics. Officers searched the vehicle and found the black box Casto saw Rogers place into the back seat as he was approaching the vehicle.
Inside the box was a set of scales, a large bag of suspected methamphetamine, and a large back of suspected marijuana.
Officers also located inside the black box several individually wrapped bags of suspected methamphetamine. Weight measurements were marked on several of the individual bags, which is consistent with the distribution of narcotics.
Mellinger said he estimated the street value of the methamphetamine to be at least $16,000.
Officers also located a 12-gauge Hatfield shotgun inside the vehicle.
Casto spoke to the occupant of the residence. When asked about the other individual in the truck, she stated no one else was in the residence and she did not know the other individual.
The occupant stated that she knew Rogers and that she let him park his vehicles in her driveway. She stated that she received crystal meth from Rogers two to three times a month as payment for letting him park his vehicle in the driveway, according to the criminal complaint.