Terry Honeycutt testified Thursday that law enforcement never told him not to sell the iodine product Polar Pure, and he said one officer told him, "No problem. Sell all you want."
Honeycutt is on trial in Federal Court on a 14-count indictment charging the sale of large amounts of the product used as a main ingredient in cooking meth.
The former assistant manager of the Brainerd Army Store took the stand as the final witness. He said he believed police recordings played by the prosecution had been edited. He said the tapes played for the jury end without including all of the conversations.
A former FBI agent was brought in by the defense to elaborate on the process of audio recording and the technology involved.
The police recordings submitted into evidence were in the format of an audio CD and were copies of the original. The expert witness said this meant not only that the quality was diminished, but also that the administrative data was gone as well. He said administrative data on a file such as this would show anytime the file had been changed.
He said, "There's no way to tell if the recording was continuous or not, or if it all happened on the same day. You cannot do a scientific authenticity exam on a copy."
Honeycutt said on the same day and during the same conversations that were recorded, Police Officer Bill Bailey and former DEA Agent David Shelton made comments saying the Honeycutts were not breaking the law. He also said his older brother, Tony Honeycutt, told them if it were illegal, they would stop selling Polar Pure.
These statements, however, were not on the recording. Honeycutt said he thought they had been cut out, either intentionally or due to a recording error.
Before Honeycutt took the stand, two men who had known him much of his life were brought in as character witnesses. Phil McDaniel and Joe Blevens Jr. both testified they knew Honeycutt to be a man of character.
When Honeycutt spoke, he testified that he first worked at the Brainerd Army Store as a teenager, when it was owned by his father. At the time, he was a partial owner. However, he said he sold his ownership percentage to pay for college and never bought it back. This means even when he worked there later on salary, he never made an extra percentage of the overall sales profit, it was stated.
He told the jury that Polar Pure, a product intended to purify drinking water, had been for sale at the store even before he started working there.
Defense attorney Chris Townley asked him what he did when sales of Polar Pure spiked between 2008 and 2009.
He said, "I contacted the police department. I wanted to talk to someone about a product that I carried, to see if there were any issues." Honeycutt described his phone call to police as "odd," saying he kept getting put on hold. However, he said no one ever told him to stop selling Polar Pure.
He said that the officer he talked to on the phone even said, "No problem, sell all you want."
According to Honeycutt, he decided to start taking drivers' license numbers after this to see if it would curb interest in Polar Pure; it did not. Still, he kept the record, thinking police would be interested.
However, he said when they looked at it, they "didn't act like they were interested at all." He said when someone from the Sheriff's Department came by, they did not even copy any of the names.
He said none of these law enforcement members ever mentioned anything being wrong with the store selling Polar Pure either.
During cross-examination by prosecutor Jay Woods, he asked if Honeycutt thought the jump in Polar Pure sales between 2008 and 2009 were not extraordinary.
Honeycutt said it was a big jump, but that it was not uncommon for sales of a certain product to become popular and go through a "boom" before leveling off again. When Attorney Townley cross-examined, he pointed out that Polar Pure sales did drop again in 2010.
Prosecutor Woods also asked Honeycutt if he ever questioned customers who were purchasing large amounts of Polar Pure, as one bottle can purify 500 gallons of water. Honeycutt said he did not. Attorney Townley earlier said employees at any other store do not question their customers either.
Former DEA agent David Shelton, who testified on Tuesday, said he had also asked Honeycutt this question.
Attorney Townley told the jury that some of the Shelton reports were not consistent. On the official report he turned in to the DEA, he wrote that he had specifically told Honeycutt not to continue selling iodine. However, during his testimony, he said he was not sure and that he might not have.
After both attorneys finished questioning Honeycutt, the defense rested its case. Judge Sandy Mattice told the jurors they would hear closing arguments from both attorneys on Friday before they start deliberating.