Former Bullhead City resident given probation in drug case

May 23, 2019

KINGMAN — A former Bullhead City resident was placed on probation Monday, 17 days after a co-defendant was sent to prison in the same drug case.

Edward Darling, 51, and Debra Couch, 53, both were arrested when authorities seized 5.5 grams of methamphetamine from the bedroom of Darling’s former residence in Bullhead City in September of 2017.

Couch’s defense was that she was just a “middle man” and that it was Darling who was most involved in drug dealing. Couch pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle sent Couch to prison for five years, saying he could not ignore her eight previous felony convictions. Carlisle said he was ordering a lighter sentence for Darling, who pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Carlisle said that Darling had only three prior felony convictions and that they were each at least 20 years old. He also said that Darling was considered a decent candidate for probation because he changed his friends and environment by moving to Kingman, where he holds two jobs.

Carlisle also said that the county attorney’s office pushed for prison in Couch’s case, but took no position on the matter in the case of Darling. The judge said he usually imposes prison time when there’s a sales-related dangerous drug conviction, but that he was making an exception for Darling.

“I’m going to give you an opportunity with probation, primarily because you’ve taken many steps to improve yourself,” Carlisle said. He said Darling still committed a serious crime and that punishment is appropriate.

The judge placed Darling on five years’ probation and ordered him to perform 360 hours of community work service. He also ordered Darling to serve a nine-month county jail sentence, though he’ll be eligible for work release and might be able to keep his jobs if his employers work with him.

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