Crime Hanceville, Blount County authorities bring down major area drug trafficker | The Cullman Tribune


Hanceville, Blount County authorities bring down major area drug trafficker


Updated 12/21/16 at 10:12 p.m.

HANCEVILLE - Hanceville Police Chief Bob Long today announced the arrest of a major area drug trafficker. Long, along with Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, held a press conference to announce the arrest of Bradley Neal Steele, 33, of Blountsville.

According to Long, earlier this month, officers from the Hanceville Police Department (HPD) received information that Steele had been involved in the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. It was alleged that he was supplying methamphetamine and marijuana to individuals in Blount and Cullman Counties.

On Dec. 19, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Blount County deputies and Hanceville Police officers apprehended Steele as he attempted to sell approximately 1 oz. of methamphetamine in Blount County.

A search warrant for Steele's residence was obtained, and a large amount of marijuana and methamphetamine was seized, along with a smaller amount of cocaine and other pills, believed to be a controlled substance.

The search warrant yielded approximately 110 lbs. of marijuana, approximately 1.8 lbs. of ICE methamphetamine, approximately 3 oz. of cocaine, approximately $93,000 in U.S. currency, firearms, a ballistic vest and other related items.  

The estimated street value of the seized narcotics is more than $350,000.

"The important thing about this entire incident is this is a very large amount of illegal drugs that won't be available on the streets," said Long. "I would like to acknowledge that our officers did a fantastic job.  I want to express my sincere gratitude to Sheriff Lloyd Arrington and the Blount County Sheriff's Office for all their hard work and dedication on this case."

After Long's statement, he, HPD Assistant Chief Adam Hadder, HPD Lt. Brannon Hammick and Nail answered questions and spoke informally about the operation.

Hadder explained that the drugs involved were not "low-grade, homemade stuff," but extremely high-grade goods likely produced in Mexico and brought into Blount County by way of Birmingham.

Hadder and Long pieced together a timeline of events:

1. The HPD became aware of drug trafficking into Cullman County approximately two weeks ago.
2. Investigation from that point led the HPD to Steele and his residence in Blountsville.
3. On Monday, Dec. 19, the HPD contacted the Blount County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) to inform them of the situation and seek their assistance.
4. Later that day, the BCSO secured necessary warrants and set up surveillance on Steele's Blountsville residence.
5. That night around 9:30, HPD officers and BCSO deputies confronted Steele outside a Blountsville business, and apprehended him after a short vehicle pursuit.  He was in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine at that time.
6.  A subsequent search conducted under warrant at Steele's home revealed the main stash of drugs and other items.

Nail indicated this was likely the largest drug operation the HPD has ever pursued.

He stated, "I've been around Hanceville and in law enforcement all my life, and this is the largest amount that Hanceville PD has been involved with, as far as the seizure, that I know of."

Steele is being held in Blount County Correctional Facility.

While reporters were still present, Long received word from the Blount County District Attorney's Office that Steele has been formally charged with three counts of trafficking, one for each of the drug types involved. His bail was set at $3 million.  

Long commented that convictions on these charges could potentially result in a life sentence for Steele, who has previous convictions.

According to Long, Steele could face additional charges of attempting to commit a controlled substance crime, attempting to elude and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.



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