A Washington County man charged in a large, and apparently multi-defendant, marijuana case was arrested in March after Johnson City police responded to an unrelated complaint about him.
Peyton Howren, 26, 412 Ferndale Drive, Johnson City encountered police March 30 after a 911 call about him having his pit bull unleashed.
Howren followed the officer’s direction to leash the dog, take it into his home and come back out to talk to police.
During the process of issuing a city citation for a dog running at large, police discovered there was an active presentment for Howren’s arrest. A presentment is a sealed indictment handed down by a grand jury for a case that hasn’t been made public. Once the presentment is served and arrests made, the information was filed in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and Howren’s charges became public record.
Howren was indicted in the presentment on multiple drug charges:
• Conspiracy to possess Schedule VI drugs controlled substance (marijuana) in a drug free zone with intent to sell or deliver.
• Conspiracy to possess Schedule II controlled substance (cocaine) in a drug free zone with intent to sell or deliver.
• Possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.
• Possession of Schedule II drug with intent to sell or deliver.
According to details in the presentment against Howren, he and his unnamed co-defendants “unlawfully and knowingly conspire(d) and agree(d) with another and with others known and unknown to the grand jury, that one or more of them would engage in a conduct that constituted the offense of possession with intent to sell or deliver 300 pounds or more of marijuana.”
The document went on to say the conspiracy occurred within 1,000 feet of Towne Acres Elementary School.
The conspiracy allegedly began around April 1, 2016, until Aug. 31, 2020.
According to the court records, Johnson City police obtained warrants to search storage units Howren rented in his name. Inside, officers found marijuana and approximately $32,490 cash.
The document, unsealed after Howren’s arrest, was heavily redacted to not release the names of others charged in the same presentment.
District Attorney General Ken Baldwin said he’s limited in what he can say about the case since all the defendants have not been arrested.
He did say the 300-plus pounds of marijuana was an “aggregate” amount — which allows prosecutors to file the case as a conspiracy — as opposed to a large shipment of the drug.
Howren was free on a $75,000 bond and has retained attorney Gene Scott to represent him. Scott declined to comment on the case. Howren is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court June 1.
This is not Howren’s first arrest on drug charges. He Howren has a pending case in which he’s charged with possession of more than 300 grams of cocaine and more than a half-ounce of marijuana for resale. That case is scheduled in Criminal Court again onfor April 21.