A Palestine couple remained in the Anderson County Jail Saturday after having been arrested the previous day for having more than 5 grams of methamphetamine in their possession.

Richard Ray Simpson, 49, and Sharon Denise Simpson, 46, both of Palestine, were arrested at their local residence in the 500 block of Hood Street around 5 p.m. Friday, according to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor.

Richard Simpson was arrested on four charges, including possession of a controlled substance between 4 and 200 grams; abandon/endanger a child — criminal negligence; unlawful possession of body armor by a felon; and possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, according to the sheriff.

Sharon Simpson, meanwhile, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance between 4 and 200 grams; abandon/endanger a child — criminal negligence; and possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, according to Taylor.

Taylor said authorities found almost 6 grams of methamphetamine; 1 ounce of marijuana; a bulletproof police vest; and $1,650 cash during a search of the couple’s residence Friday afternoon.

Earlier on Friday, Taylor said sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Chason and deputy John Wright had begun searching for Richard Simpson since he was wanted in Freestone County on a violation of probation warrant.

The sheriff said the original Freestone County charge was manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance.

Late Friday afternoon, Wright determined the wanted individual was inside a residence in the 500 block of Hood Street, according to the sheriff.

Taylor said he and sheriff’s Capt. Tommy Barr subsequently arrived at the residence to provide assistance, adding that Richard Simpson was taken into custody without incident on the probation violation warrant.

“During their (Chason and Wright) investigation searching for this individual, they had discovered he runs with some local people who we believe to be in the drug scene,” Taylor said.

After Richard Simpson was taken into custody, the sheriff said authorities gained consent from Sharon Simpson to search the couple’s residence.

During the initial search, Taylor said 1 ounce of marijuana was discovered on a top shelf in the master bedroom closet.

Sharon Simpson began to grow increasingly nervous at that point in the search, prompting authorities to “back out” of the residence and subsequently obtain a search warrant signed by 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher, according to Taylor.

“In the further search of the residence, 5.7 grams of methamphetamine” was found “hidden in various places in the master bedroom,” the sheriff stated.

A total of $1,650 cash in $100 and $20 denominations was also seized from a single location inside the residence, in addition to the bulletproof police vest, according to Taylor.

Since Richard Simpson is a convicted felon, it is illegal for him to possess such a vest, the sheriff pointed out.

The couple’s 9-year-old daughter, who was present at the time of the search, lives at the residence, leading to one of the charges since drugs were located in the house and “easily accessible,” according to Taylor.

Also providing assistance at the scene on Friday were Gary Wilbanks and Dan Mogan of the Anderson County Drug Task Force and Chris Dobbs, investigator with the Anderson County district attorney’s office. 

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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