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Prosecutor Calls 61-year-old Woman Dangerous

May 7, 1985

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a 61-year-old grandmother held without bond after a prosecutor said she would be a drug-dealing threat to the community if released.

Gladys Stokes was arrested at an East Memphis shopping center Sunday less than 48 hours after being released on bond in another drug case. She was charged with conspiring to possess illegal methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

″It’s almost a given, that when she’s been (free) on bond, she’s going to continue selling drugs,″ Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom DiScenza told U.S. Magistrate James Allen on Tuesday.

Will Heaton, a defense attorney for Mrs. Stokes, did not contest the government’s motion to refuse bond.

When arrested, she was allegedly trying to purchase a pound of methamphetamin e from an undercover agent, Special Agent Joe Bettner of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration testified. Agents seized $10,000 in cash.

DiScenza told Allen that Mrs. Stokes now faces two drug charges in Tennessee, two drug charges in federal court and a drug-related charge in Texas.

Her arrest followed a series of raids in the Fort Worth, Texas, area in which state and federal agents seized an illicit laboratory where methamphetamines were being manufactured, the prosecutor said.

Methamphetamine is commonly known as ″speed″ or ″crank″ and is a powerful stimulant that can cause the user to become violent, authorities say.

Before her arrest, Mrs. Stokes allegedly arranged by phone for the delivery of a pound of methamphetamine from the Fort Worth laboratory, Bettner told Allen. The woman also allegedly discussed the proposed hijacking of a truckload of chemicals used to make methamphetamine, said the agent.

″She has continued to engage in the distribution and attempted manufacture of a dangerous drug,″ DiScenza said. ″She has continued to pump this drug into the community.″

Allen’s ruling came under a relatively new law that permits holding idividuals without bond until trial if the courts find that their freedom could pose a threat to the community.

If convicted of the charges stemming from Sunday’s arrest, Mrs. Stokes could face a prison term of 30 years and a $50,000 fine. She could also be sentenced to an additional 15 years in prison because the offense occurred while she was under bond in a previous case.

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