A Lancaster County School Board member who represents the county’s northern panhandle area was arrested Saturday morning on charges of trafficking methamphetamine.
James Mitchell Brooks, 50, and Fort Mill resident Carol Jean Broom, 37, were charged after a traffic stop. According to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy refueling his patrol car around 3 a.m. at the QuikTrip on Charlotte Highway and Collins Road was approached by someone suggesting he check on two people inside the store.
The pair, identified by the sheriff’s office as Brooks and Broom, left the store, got into their vehicle and were followed by the deputy and a second deputy who arrived soon after. The deputies followed Brooks and Broom until making a traffic stop on South Doby’s Bridge Road, the sheriff’s office said. The two were in a rented Kia Optima that deputies said they observed swerving in the road before the stop.
Broom received a warning ticket, then a deputy allegedly saw an open beer bottle in the car, according to the sheriff’s office. The other deputy allegedly spotted “a metal tray with white powder residue on it” under the front passenger seat. A plastic bag containing methamphetamine also was found in Brooks’ jacket pocket, the sheriff’s office alleges. More was found, according to the report, in other containers, including one attached by magnets to the car.
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Together, there were 24 grams of the drug, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies found another 3.6 grams of what they suspected to be marijuana in a suitcase in the trunk, along with a loaded 12 gauge shotgun.
Other items found include two hypodermic needles, a spoon, a glass pipe and a butane torch lighter. Deputies also seized $332 in cash.
Both suspects were charged with trafficking methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Brooks was charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and simple possession of marijuana. Broom is charged with possession of an open container of beer.
Drug trafficking is considered a violent crime, according to the sheriff’s office.
“I want to thank the citizen who called our attention to Mr. Brooks and Ms. Broom at the QT,” Sheriff Barry Faile said in a statement.
“Our deputies were able to make a traffic stop on the car, and their careful observations during the stop gave them what they needed to search the pair and the car. A substantial quantity of methamphetamine was taken off the street as the result of this investigation.”
Attempts to reach other Lancaster County school board members weren’t immediately successful, while the school district referred questions to law enforcement. Doug Barfield, staff attorney with the sheriff’s office, said repercussions at the school district level would come from the district.
"Any connection with the school district is going to have to come from them," he said.
Brooks, of Van Wyck, is one of two panhandle residents on the school board, serving Dist. 1. He did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The school board has seven members, each elected to a four-year term. Brooks was elected in 2014 and is serving his first term.