Des Moines woman caught with catalytic converters, narcotics

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Laura Beth Watson, 26, of Des Moines was arrested Friday on charges of possession of burglary tools, first-offense possession of a controlled substance-marijuana, possession of a controlled substance-Molly and possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine.

A Des Moines woman was arrested Friday on drug and burglary-related charges after a Clive Police Department Officer allegedly found her in possession of several freshly cut catalytic converters and a variety of narcotics.

Laura Beth Watson, 26, of Des Moines was charged with possession of burglary tools, first-offense possession of a controlled substance-marijuana, first-offense possession of a controlled substance-Molly and first-offense possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine.

The incidents leading to Watson’s arrest began about 12:15 a.m. Jan. 2, when a Clive Police Department Officer saw a black Mercedes Benz enter and park in the parking lot of a retail store at 15600 Hickman Road in Clive.

One person from the vehicle entered a nearby apartment complex while Watson waited outside, “pacing back and forth near the car wash on N.W. 159th and Hickman Road,” according to court records. An officer made contact with Watson, who said “she was waiting for a ride.”

Watson consented to a search of her purse, in which an officer found “a torch lighter, aluminum foil and a circular mirror that contained a white powdery substance” that Watson confirmed was methamphetamine, according to court records.

While waiting for a Polk City Police Department Officer with a K9 partner to arrive and assist in a search of the vehicle, the Clive Police Department Officer “walked around the vehicle and observed two catalytic converters on the rear driver side floorboard that had fresh saw marks” and “a Sawzall under a brown jacket on the rear driver side seat,” according to court records.

A search warrant was obtained, and inside the vehicle were allegedly found the catalytic converters and numerous tools, including “several used Sawzall blades in the center console, portable outlets to charge a saw, Milwakee impact drill, Milwakee battery charger, a vehicle jack to lift a vehicle to remove the catalytic converters.”

Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals, such as platinum, palladium or rhodium, that fetch a good price from metal dealers.

The vehicle’s center console also contained marijuana, a “white crystal substance” identified as methamphetamine and “a zip lock bag that stated (Molly) inside,” according to court records. Molly is an illegal drug with affects similar to the illegal drugs Ecstasy and MDMA.

Watson is held in the Dallas County Jail on a $10,000 cash or surety bond. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 20 in Dallas County District Court.

Watson was convicted of possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine in December 2018 in Polk County District Court.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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