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Senior Citizen Arrested for Intent to Sell Marijuana

By Emily Cassulo
By ecassulo@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Jackson Police have made a not-so-typical drug arrest Tuesday.

Police said they have arrested a woman for intent to sell marijuana, but what is surprising is her age.

You may hear about drug arrests often, but Jackson residents said they do not usually involve senior citizens.

"Normally you don't find people at that age selling drugs. Normally it's kids, or younger, so I think it's pretty bad," resident Willie Rayner said.

Police arrested Martha Vestal, 67, and charged her with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police arrested her Tuesday at the Care Center, which offers shelter and couseling for women and children.

In Vestal's car, officers said they found nearly 120 grams of marijuana worth at least $400.

"I think it's a shame that anybody that old should be selling anything, a product like that, especially drugs, but I guess in this economy, you've got to do what you've got to do," said Michael Ward, who lives nearby.

Care Center workers said they immediately called police after Vestal reportedly asked a fellow resident if she wanted to go to Memphis to sell the marijuana.

Workers told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News off camera they did not like making the phone call to have her arrested, but they do not allow illegal activity, and want to protect the residents who are doing well.

Officials at the Care Center said Vestal had only been staying there about a week-and-a-half.

According to the Care Center, she was homeless, on disability, and was trying to get back on her feet.

"You feel for an elderly person," said resident Monica White. "Going to jail at that stage in your life, I'm sure is going to be a difficult transition."

Vestal was released from the Madison County Jail Wednesday, after posting $5,000 bond.

Officials said her case has been transferred to General Sessions Court.
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