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Drug dad in custody awaiting sentencing

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com

A 34-year-old South Lake Tahoe man accused of being under the influence of methamphetamine as he attempted to care for his 7-month-old daughter was ordered into custody Tuesday after he tested positive for marijuana.

Christopher S. Qualls also failed to meet as ordered with a state probation officer for a presentence investigation. He pleaded guilty in August to being under the influence of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

District Judge Dave Gamble ordered Qualls held until sentencing rescheduled for Oct. 19.



Qualls’ attorney, Kris Brown, said her client missed his appointment with the state because of a transportation problem.

Qualls asked to be released because he had enrolled in college.



“Congratulations,” Gamble said. “You also have a child you’re supposed to be supporting, and you also have a drug addiction. You can’t be a dad and an addict.

“It’s always, ‘I started this and I started that’ with you and you can’t even find the door. Show him the door,” Gamble said as Qualls was taken into custody.

He is requesting placement in Western Nevada Regional Drug Court.

He was arrested Aug. 6 at the Tahoe Shores Mobile Home Park after neighbors reported hearing a screaming infant.

Deputies found Qualls’ 7-month-old daughter lying on a blanket in the residence that they said was in disarray.

According to reports, Qualls admitted injecting methamphetamine and said he traveled from Fresno from Reno on Amtrak with the baby the day before his arrest.

He told officers he had an argument with his girlfriend and threw items around the mobile home, but did not hurt the baby.

A deputy said although there were diapers and formula for the baby in the residence, he believed the infant was in “an environment of substantial danger” because of Qualls’ condition.

The baby girl was placed in the care of Child and Family Services.

Qualls is also before Gamble in a case regarding the baby’s custody.

At a hearing in August, the judge told Qualls he had a lot to lose if he continued to use drugs.