A traffic stop west of Pontiac finds a Flanagan couple facing new heroin charges. 37-year-old James Blankenbeckler and his 32-year-old wife, Beth, were arrested Tuesday on Route 17. They were already free on bond for possession of heroin.
Both were charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Beth Blankenbeckler was also charged for bringing contraband into a penal institution. Police said the offense involved bringing medication into the jail.
According to police, officers found heroin in the couple's mini-van when it was stopped near Blackstone about 1:20 Tuesday morning.
According to a statement from the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, one bag of heroin, five used bags containing heroin residue and a straw were seized from the suspects. Other medications were also taken during the traffic stop.
The Blankenbecklers were charged in February with possession of heroin after the Livingston County Sheriff's Department drug unit seized more than 500 plastic bags containing heroin, 4.5 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia found at the couple's home.
The couple was released after posting bonds.
The arrests sparked a dispute between State's Attorney Seth Uphoff and Sheriff Tony Childress over the charges and evidence in the case. The prosecutor criticized the sheriff's characterization of the investigation as a potential drug delivery case.
Childress stood by his comments that the large number of plastic bags represented a mixture of drug sales and personal use by the suspects.
The low-level felony charges filed in February accuse the Blankenbecklers of possessing, but not selling, drugs.