MILLEDGEVILLE — Sheriffs' offices throughout middle Georgia and the Atlanta area have identified a widespread drug distribution network operating within the region.
According to J. Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association (GSA), sheriffs' offices in Jones, Baldwin and Putnam counties combined resources during June of this year to target methamphetamine distribution within the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, which includes eight counties in middle Georgia.
The investigation quickly reached Washington, Wilkinson and Spalding counties and eventually extended to Bibb, Butts, Clayton, Cobb, Jasper and Monroe counties.
According to Sheriff R. N. “Butch” Reece of Jones County, the initial investigation revealed that Robert Olin Rosser, 52, of Jones County and other individuals from Jones, Baldwin and Washington counties routinely traveled to the Atlanta area, where they purchased methamphetamine to be returned to the middle Georgia area for distribution.
Offenders would obtain as much as seven or eight ounces of methamphetamines each trip that often took place multiple times per week.
Deputies learned that Rosser and others from Putnam, Baldwin and Washington counties used a source in Spalding County to approach Hispanic methamphetamine dealers in the Atlanta area. The Spalding County Sheriff's Office and Washington County Sheriff's Office became closely involved in the investigation once the ongoing contact between the Spalding source and metro-Atlanta distributors was established.
Investigators conducted surveillance of several of those trips, including a 300-mile round-trip from Washington to Cobb County by way of Spalding County.
Reece said that intercepted shipment yielding a quarter pound of meth.
The widespread investigation also led to the discovery of cell phones inside two Georgia prison facilities. One incarcerated offender arranged drug transactions from the correctional facility.
The operation eventually recorded surveillance and arrest activity in 12 counties and as of Oct. 25, 48 suspects were arrested and charged with multiple offenses including violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.
Seventeen of those hail from Milledgeville and one from the Hardwick area.
Ocmulgee Drug Task Force Commander Wesley Nunn said the agency executed search warrants in Baldwin County to help the RICO case.
“We did recover some drugs in one of the search warrants, put a man and his girlfriend in jail and also seized a vehicle for Jones County,” Nunn said.
The ODTF responded to Washington County as well.
The arrests have resulted in the seizure of over one half pound of methamphetamine, 33 firearms, more than $23,000 in cash, 20 vehicles and other evidence and property related to the distribution network.
Many of those arrested were serving probated sentences or on parole and had extensive criminal histories with a combined total of over 350 arrests. At least three suspects were out of jail on bond for unrelated charges at the time of their arrest, according to the GSA release.
Sheriff Reece offered praise to the other sheriffs and all of the deputies who spent over 1,000 hours conducting surveillance, interviewing informants and witnesses, making arrests and performing the other necessary activities of the investigation.
Additional arrests from throughout the area are expected.
Milledgeville RICO arrests included:
• Kaitlyn Denise Addy, 21
• Jason Kyle Alford, 31
• Damion Christopher Ballard, 37
• Jacob Clyde Bratton, 24
• Ronny Dave Brooks, 55
• Christy Joyce Brooks, 41
• Alison Bozeman Collins, 32
• Larry Eugene Farris, Jr., 39
• Jack Alan Faulk, 44
• Rachel Harrison, 22
• Levi Casper Jones,17
• Candice Marie Kennedy, 41
• Chad Ervin Lowery, 24
• Crystal Dawn Newsome, 28
• Clifton Vance Quinn Jr., 44
• Linda Catherine Salvador, 51
• Sharon Lavonne Sowell, 31
• Thomas Frederick McDade, 65 (Hardwick)
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