On Thursday, March 7, Mayor Sunseri called a meeting of all city department heads, the hospital administrators, and other responders for a briefing about the potential of severe weather this Saturday afternoon. Presently, there exists a possibility of tornadoes between 3 p.m. and midnight. Be weather aware, he suggested to all.
After the briefing, Sunseri praised the Haleyville Police and the school for reacting to an incident on Wednesday. Reportedly, a man riding a bicycle with a shotgun was seen heading toward the Haleyville Schools. The school was notified and immediately went into lockdown mode. All three Haleyville police officers on duty went to the area and searched for the man on the bike. State Troopers came in to assist. The bike rider was quickly located and it was discovered the “shotgun” was a BB gun and the man lived in the area. Sunseri praised everyone involved because all planned emergency procedures were followed to the letter. Sunseri stated it was like having an unplanned drill, which all turned out to be a great way to check the system without anyone being hurt.
A package mailed from California to a Haleyville address was intercepted by law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, March 5. A total of 5 pounds of marijuana was found in a five-gallon bucket packed in a Home Depot box. This discovery followed the previous find during a traffic stop in February of an individual who had been under suspicion. Her vehicle had a box with 3 one-pound bags of marijuana. Another package had over $3,000 in cash.
Postal authorities had previously reported suspicious packages had been arriving at the Haleyville Post Office from California. Investigators waited for a package to be picked up and made a traffic stop in the Rabbittown area and found the metal box in the possession of Shavonna Lynn Zoetewey, 29, formerly of Sheffield and a current resident of 3686 County road 23, Haleyville. Zoetewey was placed in the Winston County Jail and after making the $51,000 bond on her Winston county charges, she was transferred to the Lauderdale County Jail where she faced additional charges.
Warrants for Brandon Charles Benge, of Haleyville have been made in connection with this case. He faces two counts of trafficking marijuana, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and trafficking in a controlled substance.
A search warrant was obtained and the controlled substance found at the residence was fentanyl. No one was home at the time, but authorities also found a 40 caliber handgun and an AK-47 with a loaded magazine. Reports stated children had been living at the residence.
In addition to the U.S. Postal Inspector John Bailey who opened one of the packages in the presence of law enforcement officers, other regional law enforcement agencies were also involved in this case. They were from the Region E Drug Task force which includes Winston, Marion, Walker, Fayette, Franklin, Lawrence and Colbert counties.
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