A local pastor currently under investigation in a child abuse case was arrested outside a Mayflower gas station on drug-related charges last week.

Lloyd Eddie Lasker Jr., 49, of Mayflower was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a Class C felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class D felony; and possession of firearms by certain persons, a Class D felony; after authorities reportedly found about 4 grams of meth and a glass pipe in his truck, which is registered under the House of Refuge and Deliverance church.

According to a probable cause affidavit, 53-year-old Timothy Bynum, who was driving the truck, was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia following the Sept. 22 incident.

Authorities went to Mayflower on the day in question looking for Lasker because he was wanted for questioning in a child abuse case, the affidavit states. During the investigation, authorities also found out the Mayflower man “was involved in narcotics and [had] firearms” and that he was on probation with an active search waiver on file.

Twentieth Judicial District Drug Task Force agents and other Conway Police Department officers first went to Lasker’s home to question him, but the report states he wasn’t home. Authorities later spotted his vehicle outside the Exxon gas station in Mayflower. Lt. Andrew Burningham noted in his report that Lasker was standing near the passenger door and that Bynum was by the driver’s door when authorities pulled up behind them.

One of the investigators on scene noticed there was a baggie with suspected methamphetamine in the door pocket of the passenger seat while other officers questioned Lasker and Bynum. Bynum reportedly claimed the meth was Lasker’s. When confronted about the drugs, the pastor “denied any knowledge of the items but did admit to using methamphetamine in the past.”

Because he was on probation and had an active search waiver filed against him, authorities also went to Lasker’s residence off Highway 365, where they found multiple firearms, ammunition and “boxes for pipes that are used for methamphetamine,” according to a report. After police searched his home, the affidavit states Lasker was questioned by detective Brittani Little.

Little launched an investigation against Lasker following a Sept. 18 welfare check request. The request was concerning a 1-year-old boy who was at the House of Refuge and Deliverance church in Mayflower with his mother and Lasker on the day in question.

When the officer responded, she noted the child had “multiple bruises from head to toe and was life threateningly emaciated.”

The child’s mother claimed the nearly-2-year-old child “was possessed by a demon.”

The boy, who suffered “a brain bleed and extreme malnourishment, was taken to a nearby hospital and admitted into the ICU on Sept. 18,” according to a search warrant affidavit. Court records show that Little requested the warrant to search the church for drugs and firearms and any evidence regarding a possible domestic battery charge against Lasker.

When questioned by the detective on Sept. 22, the Mayflower pastor admitted he had performed exorcisms on the child. The pastor also said “he has used meth in the church several times,” including with the child in question’s mother and “many other members in the church,” the detective wrote in her search warrant request.

Lasker told police it “would be likely” they would find methamphetamine residue at the church and that “some of the attempted exorcisms occurred at 748 Highway 365 [the church].”

Online records indicate authorities conducted a search warrant at the House of Refuge and Deliverance church, which has a sign posted on its gate that reads: “NOTICE NO TURN-AROUND NO PARKING WITHOUT PERMISSION.” Following the search, authorities located a baggie with methamphetamine residue in it at the church, according to the search warrant inventory list.

Calls made Monday afternoon to the church went unanswered by press time.

Lasker is currently free on a $7,500 bond in the drug case that was filed against him on Sept. 24.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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