LAKE COUNTY – The Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force had reason to suspect ex-convict Ralph Vincent Johns was back in business selling methamphetamine out of his home in Clearlake Park, and on October first last year, they obtained a search warrant for him, his home, and his vehicle. Perhaps he got wind that they were coming for him, because when detectives arrived at his home that Tuesday evening at 7 pm, no one was there.
According to Steve Brooks, Public Information Officer for the Lake County Sheriff, the detectives served the warrant on the property, and found what they were looking for. A bag stashed under the bed had $21,500.00 in cash, a digital gram scale, and two plastic bags full of white crystal meth. The meth weighed in at 45.2 grams. In the dining room they found a 9mm Beretta pistol with 17 cartridges, which if possessed by Johns would be a violation of his parole terms. Also found where assorted documents with Johns’ name on them, further linking him to the location and recovered items.
The man, however, was nowhere to be found, so the detectives collected the evidence and impounded the cash pending asset forfeiture proceeds, the fate of money gained from illegal drug sales. They forwarded their report to the District Attorney’s office. They soon learned that John’s moved immediately after his home was searched, so they issued a warrant for his arrest, with bail set at $120,000.00.
Johns, in the meantime had moved, but not far away. to the Creekside Mobile Home senior community in nearby Lower Lake, about 6 miles south from his former home. Detectives had not learned his current residence, however, but the distinctive looking 60-year-old was spotted on Thursday, January 2 driving a black Chevy pickup truck on Surphur Bank Road at about 4 pm. He was stopped, and was found with 4 grams of meth and a glass meth pipe.
Johns was taken into custody on the warrant along with new charges of possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia. He was booked into the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility, where he sits pending $135,000 bail.