LIBERTY COUNTY, TX- Just before 2 a.m. November 19, Cleveland Police Sgt. J. Mendoza was patrolling the 2300 block of N. Washington Avenue when he noticed a white 2014 Ford Focus with an obscured temporary Texas Dealer Tag that didn’t match the description of vehicle.
Sgt. Mendoza initiated a traffic stop, and made contact with the driver, 52-year-old Don Allen Denton, and passenger Weslee Edward Bartee, 47. The sergeant requested Denton’s driver’s license and insurance, but Denton said he didn’t have a license or a state ID. He further claimed his vehicle was insured, but said he simply didn’t have the proof with him.
Sgt. Mendoza instructed Denton to exit the vehicle, and asked Denton if he had any weapons or drugs, and if he could search him. Denton immediately consented to the search, and turned around, raising his hands. The Sergeant took Denton into custody for driving without a license or insurance. Denton was placed in the rear seat of the patrol vehicle.
Sgt. Mendoza then returned to the vehicle to speak with passenger Weslee Bartee, instructed him to exit the vehicle. Sgt. Mendoza provided the men’s names and date of births to CPD Dispatch for a warrants check. This revealed Denton had eight open traffic warrants through Cleveland Municipal Court. Bartee had outstanding warrants through Livingston Police Department in Polk County, for Theft of Property, and had warrants through the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office for Manufacture / Delivery of a Controlled Substance. Bartee was subsequently placed in custody along with his friend for the active warrants.
Sgt. Mendoza returned to the Ford Focus and conducted a vehicle inventory, which uncovered a clear cellophane bag in the center console containing 4.2 grams of methamphetamine. Bartee said it wasn’t his. Shockingly, when Denton was asked about the contraband, he admitted the meth was his.
The Sergeant then told Denton he would also be charged with second-degree felony Possession of a Controlled Substance, Penalty Group 1/1-B, more than 4 grams, but less than 200 grams. Denton was also held on the local traffic warrants, with unpaid fines totaling $3,116.10.
Denton and Bartee were transported to the Cleveland Police Department jail where they were booked-in and later transported to the Liberty County Jail. Denton’s bond was set at $25,000, by City of Cleveland Municipal Judge Ralph Fuller.
Bartee had medical issues that caused his release to be necessary, but warrants will be re-issued.