published Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Brainerd Army store meth trial to continue next week

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    The Brainerd Army store is located on Brainerd Road in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Jurors could not reach a verdict Friday in the federal trial of a Brainerd Army Store employee charged with knowingly selling a chemical used to make methamphetamine.

The jury will reconvene Monday before U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice to continue deliberations, pushing the trial into its second week.

Terry Michael Honeycutt faces charges he sold vast quantities of Polar Pure, a water purification product containing nearly 100 percent iodine. Iodine is a key ingredient in some methods of meth making.

Honeycutt's attorney, Chris Townley, told jurors in closing arguments Friday that federal agents lied and doctored audio recordings of interviews with Honeycutt in "rampant misconduct that taints the (legal) process."

"Too often the government's perspective is the 'ends justify the means,'" Townley said.

Townley questioned why police and federal investigators would allow Honeycutt to sell thousands of bottles of iodine over two years, knowing it was going to cook meth.

Because, he said, it made catching meth makers and users easier, he said.

"It was like shooting fish in a barrel," Townley said. "If meth is such a scourge, why did it go on as long as it did?"

But federal prosecutor Jay Woods took Townley's allegations to task.

Woods said there was no evidence that any recording had been altered. He said Townley was "just wrong" about how he characterized agents' actions. One recording had been deleted while being transferred.

He pointed to Honeycutt's own testimony Thursday when he said he didn't remember conversations he had with police telling them that he and his brother Tony Dewayne Honeycutt "didn't ask" customers what they used the product for and the customers "didn't tell."

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's that kind of deliberate ignorance that makes this defendant guilty," Woods said.

Honeycutt called local police in 2008, telling them that people who appeared "edgy" were buying up his stock of Polar Pure. He wanted to know if it could be used to make methamphetamine.

He was told it was often used for that purpose.

His sales went from two bottles in 2008 to 21,000 over the next two years. Woods estimated the profit at nearly $270,000.

Honeycutt handled inventory, orders and some sales of the iodine. He and his brother made all but 16 of 13,000 sales over that period.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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