Chief: Mom arrests send message

Published 11:19 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011

With two arrests already on the books and a third case under investigation, Brewton police are hoping to send a message to expectant mothers who consider drug use during pregnancy.

Veronica Jean Knight, 23 and Lesley Brooke Jones, 24, both of Brewton, were arrested last month on charges of furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. Those charges were levied against the women after they gave birth to babies testing positive for illegal drugs, officials said.

Knight pleaded into drug court this week, District Attorney Steve Billy said.

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Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said the two recent arrests were the first of their kind in the area.

“We haven’t seen this kind of thing so much in the past, but two arrests and a third case being investigated really has us looking at this kind of thing,” McGougin said. “We are working with officials at the hospitals and the Department of Human Resources to stop this kind of thing.”

Billy said officials hope the arrests will send a message to mothers — and will allow the mothers arrested and their children to get healthy. “That’s the whole point,” he said. “We just want to send a message.”

McGougin said the department will continue to investigate leads in these kinds of cases giving them high priority for a quick resolution. “We have zero tolerance for this kind of thing,” McGougin said. “We are going to make examples out of people to put a stop to this kind of activity.”

Knight was charged with chemical endangerment of exposing a child to a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance to a minor. Jones was charged with furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, chemical endangerment of a child and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

An investigation concerning a third woman suspected of the same offenses is ongoing, McGougin said.