Alleged suspicious activity leads to arrest of probationer for drugs

Lee Oliver Counts Jr. - Submitted photo
Lee Oliver Counts Jr. - Submitted photo

A call about a suspicious person outside a local man's house resulted in the arrest of a probationer on felony and misdemeanor charges Wednesday night after he allegedly tried to flee and had drugs in his possession.

Lee Oliver Counts Jr., 35, who lists a Summer Street address, was taken into custody shortly before 9 p.m. and charged with a felony count of possession of a controlled substance, meth, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, fleeing on foot, obstructing governmental operations and possession of a controlled substance.

Counts remained in custody Thursday on a local bond totaling $8,000 and a zero bond hold from the U.S. Marshals Service and is set to appear today in Garland County District Court. According to court records, Counts was convicted of breaking or entering in 2014 and sentenced to three years in prison. He was arrested on Sept. 12, 2019, for theft of a firearm and possession of a firearm by certain persons, but the state charges were later withdrawn because he was indicted federally.

According to the probable cause affidavit, shortly after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Hot Springs police responded to a residence in the 200 block of Mountain Valley Street regarding a call about a suspicious person.

The homeowner, 37, stated he had previously seen a man via his security camera on the front porch of his residence around 2 a.m. on Tuesday. He then spotted the same man Wednesday evening walking in the 200 block of Mountain Valley and confronted him. He said he showed him the video and asked if that was him and the man, later identified as Counts, acknowledged it was him so the man began to call police.

At that point, Counts reportedly stated he "did not want to stay" and began walking away. The homeowner followed him to the corner of Mountain Valley and Parallel streets where Officer 1st Class Jonathan Israel made contact with both men.

After speaking with the homeowner, Israel directed Counts to sit down on the curb. He allegedly refused at first, but then complied. When asked for his name, Counts was reportedly hesitant, refusing multiple times, and then gave a false name and date of birth. Due to his failure to provide his true identity, Israel began to take him into custody.

As officers attempted to detain Counts, he allegedly pulled away and fled on foot. Officers tackled him, but he reportedly continued to refuse to put his hands behind his back. Sgt. Patrick Langley finally deployed his Taser, briefly incapacitating Counts, and they were able to take him into custody without further incident.

During a search of Counts' person, officers allegedly found a bag with 3.0 grams of what later tested positive for meth, and a bowl pipe with residue. They also reportedly found five 9-mm bullets and what was later identified as a Carisoprodol pill in his pockets.

A computer check showed Counts was on active probation and had a warrant for a probation violation through the U.S. Board of Parole so U.S. Marshals were notified.

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