86-year-old man charged with crack pipe possession

Saturday, September 1, 2007
Hubert Seals

An 86-year-old man known to local law enforcement as "Pops" was arrested Thursday on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Cape Girardeau police and members of the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force apprehended Hubert Seals, 86, of 818 S. Sprigg St., following a search of his residence, which was a known "crack house," according to a probable-cause statement by Detective William Bonhert of the Cape Girardeau police.

Police said they found three glass pipes used for smoking crack cocaine.

"This is part of an ongoing problem we've had with him for many, many years," said Sgt. Barry Hovis, Cape Gir­ardeau police spokesman.

Police have received numerous complaints from neighbors about drug activity and prostitution at Seals' residence over the past several years, according to Bonhert's statement.

In 2004, when Bonhert was at a residence questioning another known drug dealer, Seals allegedly arrived to purchase an "eight-ball" of powdered cocaine and said he traded the cocaine to younger women in exchange for sexual favors, the sworn statement said.

In November 2005, police arrested Seals when they discovered two rocks of crack cocaine in his bedroom during a consensual search of his home. The search came about during a "knock and talk," which is when police stop by "problem" houses periodically. A patrol officer stopped at the house and found a 26-year-old woman who admitted to buying crack cocaine from "Pops."

On Feb. 8, 2006, Seals was found guilty at a bench trial for possession of crack cocaine and sentenced to 40 days in jail.

Prosecutors requested five years' probation for Seals, but Circuit Judge Benjamin F. Lewis said considering Seals' age, probation likely wasn't necessary because it might extend past his life expectancy, said Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.

On Wednesday, a confidential informant used by police for the past eight years visited Seals at his house to inquire about purchasing crack cocaine. The informant observed Seals and three other people smoking marijuana and crack cocaine, using pipes fashioned from car antennas and steel wool, according to the probable-cause statement.

Seals allegedly told the informant he didn't have enough of a stash to sell any at that time.

Police obtained a search warrant for 818 S. Sprigg St. and searched the single-story white frame house for drug paraphernalia Thursday night.

Seals is held at Cape Gir­ardeau city jail on a $2,500 cash-only bond.

If convicted, Seals faces a sentence ranging from one day to one year in jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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