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Contraband hidden in footballs; chase ends in wreck

A wild chase that began in Zebulon and ended just off the MLK Bypass in Barnesville on Feb. 18 led authorities to a stash of tobacco and cell phones bound for inmates at a south Georgia prison.

The chase began when Cpl. Kaleb Lynch of the Zebulon Police Dept. tried to stop a Ford Fusion traveling on Hwy. 18 due to a broken tail light. Once Lynch activated his emergency equipment, the driver Mondarius Kelly fled toward Barnesville.

Once the chase hit Lamar County, Barnesville police and Lamar deputies joined the pursuit. Kelly, who had his brother in the car, made two circuits through the Ingle’s parking lot near the gas pumps and one trip around Trojan Field, trying to evade arrest.

He finally lost control and crashed on Legacy Park Drive and was taken into custody.

Inside the vehicle, officers found a duffle bag containing several footballs which had been sliced open, filled with tobacco and cell phones and then duct taped back together. The investigation revealed Kelly and his brother were on their way to Telfair State Prison near McRae to throw the footballs over the guard line fence at the prison.

According to Zebulon police chief Jonathan Hemphill, the Department of Corrections has taken over the investigation and has identified other suspects in the conspiracy to get contraband into the prison.
Hemphill said Kelly is a convicted felon on probation. Zebulon police charged him with fleeing and attempting to elude, driving without a license, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and a brake light violation. He also faces charges from authorities in Lamar County.

No one was hurt during the chase.

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