Closure OK’d after drug bust

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Brewton City Council voted Monday to shut down a tire business permanently after three people were arrested Wednesday for an alleged prescription pill ring.
Since Wednesday, the remains of the Tires for Less store, located on Douglas Avenue next to Alabama Power, have been stripped away, as was its business license and the ability of its owner or known associates from opening another business in Brewton.
Just before 9 a.m. on that Wednesday, Brewton Police executed a search warrant at the store and arrested 51-year-old Tracey Sellers; her son, Daniel Sellers, and his girlfriend, Tasha Graves.
Tracey Sellers is facing two counts of distribution and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Police say Sellers was selling hydrocodone from inside the store, where she also lived. Mr. Sellers and Graves each face charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
BPD Police Chief Monte McGougin said investigators began to receive numerous complaints about the sale of illegal drugs in October.
McGougin said then, “This kind of activity will not be tolerated by the citizens and definitely not by the businesses. If I have anything to do with it, they will not reopen in Brewton under this (store) name or any other name.”
At Monday’s council meeting, McGougin made good on the promise as the department asked the council to revoke the store’s license and to prohibit its owner, Tony White, or anyone with known affiliations with the store from obtaining a business license in Brewton.
“This is a quality of life issue – especially with the location’s proximity to the elementary school and the police department,” said Lt. Brock Holt, a member of the BPD narcotics division. “We had received complaints over the years about illegal drug activity. After we executed the search warrant, we found several different kinds of illegal narcotics and paraphernalia scattered throughout the building. And we can say that past businesses operated by these people also presented quality of life issues for the public.”
Holt said the arrests came after a confidential informant was able to purchase narcotics from employees inside the store.
City Attorney Ed Hines said the council was operating within its scope in not only pulling the store’s business licenses, but also in prohibiting any future issuances to its known operators.
Hines said the storeowner, Thomas White, was invited to speak on behalf of his business; however, White did not attend the meeting.
McGougin said previously Tracey Sellers could face an enhanced drug charge based on the property’s proximity to Brewton Elementary School. Under Alabama law, additional penalties are imposed when the sale occurs on school property or within three miles of its campus.