An Arkansas man will stand trial for his alleged role in drug trafficking a year ago.

Alejandro Lopez, 19, Rogers, Arkansas, is charged in Labette County District Court with distribution of marijuana, use of drug paraphernalia and interfering with a law officer by destroying evidence, all felonies.

Lopez was a passenger in a Chevrolet Impala on June 29, 2018, that a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper attempted to stop on U.S. 400 east of Parsons.

Trooper Ben Marten testified at preliminary hearing this week that the driver sped away west of Udall Road in Labette County. Marten saw two people in the car.

While pursuing the car, Marten noticed what he thought were bugs hitting his patrol car. He saw that the driver and the passenger, Lopez, were puncturing bags and dumping their contents onto the highway. He saw them toss about four bags from the vehicle during the pursuit, which ended about three miles north of Cherokee on K-7 after the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department deployed Stop Sticks that deflated a tire or tires on the Impala.

Marten, another trooper and Crawford County deputies converged on the car and arrested the driver and Lopez. The two offered no resistance. Lopez didn’t want to talk to law enforcement.

Inside the car, Marten said he found marijuana, a heat-sealable food bag, ZipLoc baggies, smoking pipes and other drug paraphernalia and digital scales. Lopez had $3,400 cash on him. The driver had $1,300. Marten also found a plastic bag in the grill of his patrol car, a Ford Explorer, with residue in it. He found what he suspected was a wax product with marijuana’s active ingredient in it, though the KBI lab could find no traces of THC in the wax.

He found magazines for rifle or pistol rounds in the car, but no guns. He found 9 mm ammunition. 

The marijuana found in the car was loose. When asked to clarify that, Marten said, “like buds throughout the vehicle.”

Only a small amount of marijuana remained.

Phones in the car contained messages that Marten linked to the drug trade. One used a slang term for drugs in a message and the other had a money emoji next to a name.

The undercarriage of the car caught fire during the stop and law enforcement used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The fire department was called.

After Marten’s testimony, Judge Jeffry L. Jack ordered Lopez to stand trial on the charges. Arraignment will be Sept. 16.


In other cases:

— Zachary R. Lucas, born in 1988, Langley, Oklahoma, pleaded no contest to aggravated battery, a level four felony. The presumed sentence is prison, but Lucas’ attorney, David Markham, said he will seek a dispositional departure from Kansas Sentencing Guidelines to probation. The county attorney agreed to the defense recommendation as part of the plea, Markham said. Lucas allegedly battered Courtney Holding on March 18, 2018. He will be sentenced on Oct. 15.

— Tiffany D. Corliss, born in 1991, 1404 Broadway, made a first appearance on a charge of abuse of a child, a mid-level felony, and two counts of aggravated child endangerment, lower level felonies. The abuse charge alleges that Corliss tortured a child born in 2017 on March 18. The endangerment charge relates to an incident March 18 and another on Nov. 20, 2018, when a 6-week-old child was left outside and was or could have been subjected to hypothermia, the complaint alleges. Corliss will return to court Aug. 27.

— Chelsea L. Shultz, born in 1992, 3141 Corning, is charged with residential burglary, a felony, for allegedly breaking into a home south of Parsons on Monday. She also faces two misdemeanor charges in the case. She faces other cases as well. She will return to court Oct. 31. Shultz was among five people arrested for burglary-related charges over the weekend by the sheriff’s department.

— John R. Cabot, born in 1977, 1431 Washington, Apt. 3, pleaded no contest to criminal threat, a low-level felony. Sentencing will be Oct. 7. Other charges, including residential burglary, were dismissed as part of the plea.

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