By Brandi Makuski
Stevens Point police have charged a Wisconsin Rapids man they suspect of selling drugs in the in the city’s Downtown District.
John P. Simmons, Jr., 30, was arrested on July 7 after police found marijuana and cocaine in his vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint, Simmons was sitting in a parked vehicle with three women at about 2:30 AM on the 1200 block of Second St., which a passing patrol officer found suspicious.
After calling in the license plate to dispatchers, police found the car was registered to Simmons, who was on probation for possession with intent to deliver cocaine and had an active arrest warrant out of Grand Rapids. After calling for backup, three officers approached the vehicle, which reportedly smelled of burnt marijuana. Simmons was taken into custody without incident.
Police found $1,200 in Simmons’ pocket, which he told officers was from a social security check he had just received. A search of the vehicle uncovered an additional $700, a bag of marijuana and another bag containing a “large amount of white powder,” later determined to be cocaine, in the glove box, as well as a fire safe in the trunk.
Later that day, Simmons’ ex-girlfriend called the police department to ask about taking possession of Simmons’ car and the property. The woman told police Simmons asked her to retrieve his clothing, food stamp card and debit card, then sell the vehicle, according to the complaint.
She also requested the safe from the truck on the car, which she claimed held a large amount of cash that Simmons had been saving.
Officers declined to release the car, saying it and all its contents were considered evidence. The following day, police obtained a search warrant and forced open the safe; inside, they found $5,700 in cash and more marijuana, the complaint said.
Police ultimately confiscated $7,610 in cash, 18.6 grams of cocaine and almost 50 grams of marijuana from the vehicle.
Investigators also listened to recorded phone calls from Simmons to his ex-girlfriend, during which he told the woman “it was dumb to carry all that money with his drugs,” the complaint said.
Simmons also asked the woman to tell police the money in the trunk was “a trust fund for our kids”, also suggesting she claim the money was to be used for Simmons’ defense, or that the money belonged to her.
“I’m going to get out of this and you can get my money,” Simmons allegedly told the woman.
Simmons faces up to 25 years in prison for possession with intent to deliver cocaine, and up to three-and-a-half years for possession with intent to deliver THC. Misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail. If convicted, the charges come with more than $100,000 in fines.
Because Simmons is a repeat offender, his sentence can be increased by up to two years for each charge if he is convicted. His next court date has not yet been scheduled.