Man charged with first-degree felony possession of a controlled substance.
Story, photos by Jamie Nash / Video by Scott J. Engle
April 23, 2009
EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY- The Pct. 4 Constable's Office arrested a local businessman Wednesday on drug charges then spent the day gathering evidence, which led to the discovery of $270,000 in cash. The money was in a Chase Bank safety deposit box in $100 bills.
Michael Glenn Anderson, 44, of New Caney was charged with first-degree felony possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). He may also face money laundering charges, pending the outcome of the investigation, officials said.
Anderson owns the Grocery Warehouse store in the 17800 block of US 59 in New Caney.
Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth "Rowdy" Hayden, who joined his men and remained throughout the investigation, said an anonymous tip regarding illegal drugs led deputies to Anderson's home located at 17205 Misty Lake Point in the Northcrest Ranch subdivision off of SH 242 near US 59.
"When they arrived on location, the drug investigation turned into a welfare concern," Hayden said. "An individual (Anderson) appeared to be unconscious, but it was determined he was just passed out."
Officers contacted the office of Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and obtained a search warrant for the residence where they found approximately 2 kilos of cocaine, Hayden said.
Anderson was taken into custody and Pct. 4 conducted an extensive search of the home. Assistant District Attorney Claudia Laird joined Pct. 4 officers on location where she assisted in obtaining necessary warrants and providing additional assurance that everything was done by the letter of the law.
Deputies removed vehicles and items from the stylish brick home including a Lexus SUV, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 4-wheeler, firearms, and a big screen television. The county may permanently seize those items, depending upon the outcome of Anderson's case.
After collecting evidence at the residence, Pct. 4 investigators went to the Chase Bank where Anderson is a customer, with warrants for his bank account(s) and safety deposit boxes. According to Hayden, the bank visit was simply part of the process and no one anticipated finding over a quarter million dollars in currency stashed there.
By the time the currency was discovered, counted, and secured, the time was well after regular business hours. Constable Hayden contacted D.A. Ligon and A.D.A. Laird, who met Hayden and his officers at the District Attorney's Office in downtown Conroe. The officers were exhausted, having worked another narcotics arrest and investigation the night before then working all day with little to no sleep. However, Hayden said they were determined to follow the evidence through the chain of custody.
With nine witnesses present, including themselves, Ligon and Laird carefully counted the money, which was separated and bundled in bank wrappers, primarily in stacks of $5,000. To verify the amount, the currency was handed from Ligon to Laird, who fed it into an automatic counter. As the counter confirmed the amounts, Ligon replaced the wrappers and initialed them. When the count was complete, the witnesses accompanied Ligon to the vault in the D.A.'s Office where he placed the large clear bag of money.
Anderson was released on bond on Thursday. Court records indicate only two prior charges against Anderson. The more recent charge, misdemeanor assault, occurred in 1999. The older charge was for marijuana possession in 1993.
On the quiet cul-de-sac where Anderson moved two years ago, neighbors watched the police activity on Wednesday and expressed mixed reactions after walking to the street to talk with Constable Hayden about the situation as he was leaving.
Neighbor Meredith Tinnell said when she saw all of the law enforcement activity, she thought someone had died in the home.
"I knew his wife left," she said. "I didn't really know him."
After two years as neighbors, Tinnell said Anderson waving on rare occasions was all of the interaction they had, and she said his wife never even waved.
"It was obvious they wanted to be left alone," she said.
Tinnell is not part of the NCR neighborhood watch, but as someone who is home all da y, recent break-ins in the subdivision have made her more observant, she said.
Until about the past month, Tinnell said she saw little of Anderson during business hours, and saw few visitors. However, that changed recently, with Anderson coming and going frequently all day long, she said.
"I'm not surprised (about Anderson's arrest on drug charges) now, there were so many people in and out," Tinnell said.
Gary McCarley, who lives across the street, said he spoke with Anderson a few times while working in his yard and Anderson seemed like "a nice guy."
"I served in the Air Force with a lot of junkies," McCarley said. "He didn't come across that way."
McCarley and his wife, Becky, were home on Wednesday because of a doctor appointment, but both work and said they rarely see what happens on their street on weekdays.
"I was a little surprised," Becky McCarley said. "I figured it was either money laundering or drugs."
During the first three months of Constable Hayden's administration, his office has obtained judgments of about $400,000.
Hayden said Wednesday's arrest supported his strategy about cleaning up East Montgomery County.
"This is an example of what I said during the campaign," Hayden said. "Our officers need to be in residential neighborhoods and off of the highway.
"This is where our drug battle needs to begin- with what affects our citizens."