An El Dorado woman appeared Wednesday in 35th Judicial District Court on felony drug charges following an arrest that began with a traffic stop after police received reports of an unrestrained child in a vehicle.
Debra J. East, 38, of the 700 block of North Yocum, received a $10,000 bond during her first appearance hearing in district court on charges of possession of crack cocaine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
East remained in the Union County Jail on Tuesday evening in lieu of bond.
Officers responded at 8:34 p.m. Tuesday to a report of an unrestrained toddler child inside a vehicle at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 208 W. Hillsboro.
Police said two females, one of whom was later identified as East, and a toddler were inside the vehicle that was in the parking lot of the business.
The toddler, 2, was sitting in a booster seat that was designed for an older child and was not legally approved for a child who was the age and approximate weight of the toddler, police said.
They also said that neither the child nor the booster seat were secured with a seatbelt.
The driver of the vehicle fastened the seat belt around the child and booster seat, but police said the belt did not properly fit. Officers also advised the women that several items that littered the backseat could potentially harm the child in the event of an accident.
Both women told police that no one was available to bring an appropriate child safety seat to the scene and as the women began moving items from the back seat, police said they saw a jar containing a white residue and rock-like substance at the bottom of the jar.
According to a police report, East quickly tried to conceal the jar and the women told officers they had found the jar in a dumpster behind another local business.
Police said the substance tested positive for cocaine and neither woman would claim ownership of the narcotic.
During a search of the vehicle, officers reportedly found methamphetamine, a glass pipe, a burnt spoon and tweezers and other items that appeared to be drug paraphernalia inside a purse belonging to East, who was taken into custody.
Prior to the search of the vehicle, police said East had called her mother to the scene to pick up the child with an appropriate child safety seat. The toddler was subsequently released into the custody of East’s mother.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.