Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Man caught with Kratom jailed

Herbal substance legal in Florida, but illegal in Alabama lands Andalusia man in jail


July 26, 2018

An Andalusia man stopped for speeding Sunday afternoon in Flomaton ended up in the Escambia County Detention Center on trafficking charges after officers discovered 1,001 grams of the herbal substance Kratom, which is illegal to sell or possess in the state of Alabama.

Luke Mark Popwell, 32, 25339 Hidden Forest Lane, was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, trafficking, unlawful possession of marijuana II, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding.

According to Flomaton police reports, Detective Chance Thompson clocked a vehicle on Highway 31 in front of Flomaton High School driving 53 mph in a 35 mph zone and initiated a traffic stop.

Thompson noted the vehicle swerved several times before stopping near Southern Wood Specialities.

Thompson said he approached the driver, later identified as Popwell, and obtained his driver's license and insurance information and reported Popwell said he swerved due to playing on his phone.

Thompson administered a field sobriety test which Popwell passed.

While issuing the field sobriety test, Police Chief Bryan Davis arrived on the scene and observed what he thought was marijuana in the front floorboard.

A further search of the vehicle revealed the bag of Kratom, which is listed as a schedule I controlled substance in the state of Alabama, but can be legally purchased in the state of Florida.

Thompson said Popwell told him he paid $100 for the bag of Kratom in Florida.

Thompson said Kratom is usually mixed with a liquid, such as orange juice, and has the same narcotic effects at morphine and other opioids. The Alabama Legislature passed a bill in 2016 making the substance illegal in the state.

Popwell was arrested and transported to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton.


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