Former A-State professor suspected of drug dealing

A Jonesboro Police Department patrol car. Photo by Stan Morris.

Affidavit alleges meth, LSD, pills, and counterfeit money found on Dr. Brian K. Laird

JONESBORO, Ark. – A traffic stop early Saturday morning, January 20, led to the arrest of a former college accounting professor for possession of meth, LSD, Xanax pills, and pot – and all arrests were for intent to deliver, the probable cause affidavit says.

At 12:20 a.m. Saturday morning in Jonesboro, officers with JPD stopped a white passenger car at the intersection of Creath and Bridge streets for having a headlight out. Officers made contact with Dr. Brian Laird, 39, the driver, and Cody Thornton, 32, the passenger. Police say they immediately noticed Laird appeared to be extremely nervous. He searched through his center console and while doing so, officers noticed a glass pipe used to ingest controlled substances, they reported.

August 25, 2016; Photo source: Laird’s Facebook.

A search through dispatch led police to find Thornton to be on parole. They also learned he had a valid warrant for his arrest in Jonesboro. He was detained. Then, given the fact he was on valid parole, a search of the area under his immediate control was conducted, the affidavit says. That’s when police learned the glass pipe was no longer inside of the center console.

From there, this is the exact wording in the probable cause affidavit:

“The glove compartment was locked and realizing that the pipe was now missing and the glove compartment was locked, officers asked Laird for the key to the locked compartment. Laird refused and was placed into custody for Obstruction of Governmental Operations.

“The glove compartment was opened and inside officers located the glass pipe previously located in the center console (methamphetamine pipe) and a glass marijuana pipe with burnt marijuana. Officers also located a plastic bag that contained various items of contraband individually packaged including approx. 8.1 grams marijuana, 23 Hydrocodone 10 mg tablets, 1 – 2mg Alprazolam tablet, 6.5 – 1mg Alprazolam tablets, a foil wrapper containing 3 suspected LSD stamps, approx. 0.3 grams of unknown yellow powder and a clear plastic bag containing 3.8 grams of suspected methamphetamine.”

Laird was found to have $1,551 in cash on his person, after being searched. He was also found to have a counterfeit $100, the affidavit states.

Laird and Thornton were transported to Craighead County Detention Center.

Laird is facing these charges:

  • Possession of meth with intent to deliver, greater than two grams (Class B Felony, up to $15,000 fine and/or 5-20 years)
  • Possession of schedule I or II substance with intent to deliver (Class C Felony, up to $10,000 fine and/or 3-10 years)
  • Possession of schedule IV or V with purpose to deliver (Class D Felony, up to $10,000 fine and/or up to 6 years)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (Class D Felony, up to $10,000 fine and/or up to 6 years)
  • Forgery, 1st Degree (Class B Felony, up to $15,000 and/or 5 to 20 years)
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class A Misdemeanor, up to $2,500 fine and/or up to 1 year)
  • Improper Headlights (Traffic violation)

His next court date is listed at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2018 at the Craighead County Courthouse.

On his Facebook profile, Laird is listed as an “Associate Professor at Arkansas State University.” However, his employment ended last month, a statement from A-State said.

Brian Laird is no longer a member of the Arkansas State faculty. He resigned his position in December 2017. He has not taught classes for the College of Business this academic year. – Bill Smith, Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications at Arkansas State University

University officials seemed unaware of the arrest as of Wednesday morning, when contacted by NEA Report.  The arrest report was not immediately available to press outlets and was first reported in the Jonesboro Sun after a probable cause hearing earlier in the week.

Laird has his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Memphis. His B.S. and Master of Accounting were earned at Arkansas State.

Although his web profile at A-State’s website had been removed as of Wednesday afternoon, NEA Report pulled a cached version of it from Google, taken on January 9, 2018. On his profile, his research interests include “Ethical Judgment and Behavior,” and “Decision Making.”

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