Two county residents arrested on heroin charges
         CCSD still seekingnew information on stabbing, body
  
By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF

   An Elizabethton couple were arrested on drug charges Monday afternoon by members of the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force and Carter County Sheriff's Department.
   According to a DTF agent, Gary Carden, 37, and Pamela Small, 41, 105 Renfro Road, were arrested after agents executed a search warrant at the residence and found approximately 5 grams of heroin, a quarter-ounce of marijuana, an assortment of pills, including steroids, and drug paraphernalia used in the packaging and processing of heroin. A large amount of cash also was seized.
   The pills have been sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Knoxville for analysis, according to the agent.
   Carden and Small were charged with possession of Schedule I for resale, possession of Schedule III, possession of Schedule VI and possession of drug paraphernalia.
   Carter County Sheriff John Henson said Carden and Small both have been arrested previously on drug-related charges.
   "Maybe this time, with this amount of drugs, this dealer (Carden) will be put out of commission and be put where he belongs. He has slipped through the cracks several times before."
   Carden and Small originally were set a $69,000 bond but that was reduced and Carden was released from jail Tuesday on $10,000 corporate bond ($1,000 to a bail bondsman). Small is still in Carter County Jail with her bond set at $10,000 corporate.
   "Maybe this time will be the time they will be put out of business," Henson said.
   The sheriff said people sometimes think that when they report drug trafficking, that nothing's being done about it.
   "But it's a slow process. It takes time -- a lot of time. You've got to get in there and you've got to get your wheels moving before you can move in and take one out," Sheriff Henson said.
   "I appreciate the DTF for a job well done and my department that assisted with what I would call a major drug dealer. As I have said in the past, drugs are No. 1 on our list. Any time that we can get a drug dealer off the street, I am very pleased to do that.
   "The DTF has always been excellent to work with and help this department and to help the county and the city. They play a major role in (stopping) drug trafficking here and I'm proud to be a part of them."
   According to the sheriff, his department also is working on an Internet Web site which will display information he hopes will lead to solving two other county-connected crimes.
   The sheriff's department still is looking for Charles Austin Jr., 25, 811 Rittertown Road, Hampton, who allegedly beat his pregnant wife, Kara, with an ax handle, stabbed her, slashed her throat and mouth, then fled the scene in her vehicle before abandoning it in the middle of Butler Bridge around the end of August.
   Henson said he has not had any new leads in the last few days as to Austin's whereabouts. "Hopefully something will come in and it will be concrete."
   The sheriff said that at last report, both Mrs. Austin and the baby were doing fine.
   "They were lucky -- very lucky," he said.
   The sheriff said he also has been working on leads which may lead to identification of a woman whose frozen body was found atop Roan Mountain, just across the Tennessee-North Carolina line.
   The woman, who is believed to have been in her 80s, was found in late August by a couple who were out taking pictures.
   Mitchell, N.C., authorities, as well as Carter County, have been following each lead as it comes in, so far, without luck. The woman, who was dressed in a blue-flowered nightgown, was found wrapped in a sheet and bed blanket.
   "I am at this time trying to get it in the computer and if you pull up anything about Carter County on the computer it will show Austin and her on there," Henson said.
   According to the sheriff, there has been a countywide reduction in crime since the Sept. 11 terrorist actions at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
   "It seems like everything has just come to a standstill ever since then. It's been real quiet -- not a lot of fights, not a lot of drinking, not a lot of vandalism, not a lot of anything going on. It's just like shutting a faucet off. I hate that had to happen to do it, but it's good that it's quiet," he said.
   One reason for the lull, he believes, is because "Nobody knows just exactly what's going to take place and everybody's concerned -- which, they have a right to be, and they need to be.
   "In my opinion, it's far from being over. But we'll cross that bridge when we get there. When it happens, we'll be standing there, waiting to step in," he said.