- ‘Map gas’ mayhem?

Drug paraphernalia taken from the backpack of Ava's Thomas Elvin Branson last Friday afternoon.

A wandering customer seeking “map gas” from several businesses in downtown Seymour faces several potential felonies after his arrest last Friday at Family Dollar, a business located on the northeast corner of the city square.

Arrested was Thomas Elvin Branson, 35, of Ava, who the Seymour Police Department transported to the Webster County Jail in Marshfield that afternoon.

According to a probable-cause statement filed by Cpl. Gabe Stroud, Branson faces charges for delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (methamphetamine), both felony counts, as well as possession of marijuana, 10 grams or less.

Per Stroud’s report, local officers were notified of Branson’s erratic behavior by a downtown business who said he was wandering around the store.

“I made contact with the male (Branson) at the Family Dollar located on Main Street,” Stroud wrote in his probable-cause statement. “When making consensual contact with Mr. Branson, I observed his demeanor to be very nervous by twitching and making jerking motions.

“While attempting to speak with Mr. Branson, he would not make eye contact and was sweating heavily. It should also be known that Mr. Branson’s pupils were dilated, as well as bloodshot, common signs of narcotics use.”

Stroud then questioned Branson.

What he learned confi rmed that Branson had issues.

“I asked Mr. Branson if he was okay,” Stroud said in his report. “Mr. Branson stated he was looking for ‘map gas’ to ‘cut welds.’ At that time, Mr. Branson supplied me with a Missouri operator’s license.”

Stroud knew “map gas” didn’t exist.

The officer soon learned that Branson had an active felony warrant from Douglas County for possession of a controlled substance.

He then placed Branson in custody for the warrant.

“I asked Mr. Branson if he had any weapons or anything of illegal nature concealed on his person or property (including a backpack he was wearing),” Stroud’s report said.

“Mr. Branson voluntarily stated, ‘I have dope in my backpack, but it’s just for personal use, but it might not look like it.

After Branson was read his rights, Stroud searched the backpack.

“When searching Mr. Branson’s backpack, I located a black in color case, which contained two glass smoking pipes,” Stroud said in his report. “Due to my training and experience, I observed one glass smoking pipe to be used to inhale marijuana and the other to be used to inhale methamphetamine.

Also located in the black case was a clear baggie containing a green, leafy substance. Due to my training and experience, I observed the substance to be marijuana.”

Stroud’s report continued, “When asked if Mr. Branson had a marijuana card, he stated, ‘No, but I want to get one.’

I then located a large green in color soft case which contained a digital scale with a crystalline substance on it that later field tested positive for methamphetamine. Also located inside the green case were eight clear baggies, all containing a crystalline substance that later fi eld tested positive for methamphetamine with a total weight of 9 grams, one small clear (baggie) containing three Oxycodone pills and one small clear baggie containing five Alprazolam pills. Several empty clear baggies were located inside the green case. All items were seized and placed in secure evidence bags.”

Stroud said the evidence found on Branson showed the intent to sell drugs.

“It should be known that all narcotics were packaged separately,” his report concluded. “That is indicative of illegal narcotics sales.”

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