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Financially strapped Caryville hit with lawsuit

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By Susan Sharp

The town of Caryville is facing a $1million lawsuit as a result of an undercover drug sting last May.

Uless Joe Arnold filed the action last week claiming that when he was arrested in May 2009 it was without probable cause. Along with this, Arnold says the multiple narcotics charges filed against him because of that arrest were later dismissed.

He has named the town and Caryville Police Detective Stephanie Smith as defendants in the filing.

In the weeks preceding the arrest, Caryville Police conducted an undercover operation after receiving complaints of drug activity at Arnold’s bar, The Eagle’s Nest, Chief Bill Widener said previously.

However, Arnold contends that when officers raided his bar it was without merit. He claims in the filing that Smith acted with malice and without justification when she obtained a search warrant from General Sessions Judge Joe Ayers.

On the night his establishment was raided, Arnold says Smith used excessive force in the course of his arrest, according to the lawsuit. He was also held against his will, assaulted and falsely charged, the suit goes on to allege.

These actions amounted to an “intentional infliction of emotional distress”, along with negligence, Arnold claims.

Because of these events Arnold has been “subjected to ridicule and embarrassment and sustained damage to his reputation,” his attorney Mike Hatmaker alleges.

Court records indicate that on May 1, 2009 Arnold was charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale.

On August 25, 2009, Arnold’s charges were dismissed because of failure to prosecute the case, according to the case history.

Following the search and subsequent arrest of Arnold and seven others last year Widener said the investigation had taken nearly seven months and involved multiple alleged illegal purchases of narcotics. Smith said the majority of the deals made were for cocaine.

When the warrant was executed, three vehicles, three weapons and $4,000 in cash was seized, police said.

In his suit Arnold says the money seized has since been returned to him.