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Huge meth sweep nets locals

This following account was written by Larry Stanford of Local law enforcement has not yet commented on local arrests. Three Pike residents were arrested as part of a huge meth sweep originating in Upson County. They are Josh Shirley, 37, of Meansville; Janet Paige Parker, 44, of Williamson and Gary Hilley, 53, of Zebulon. Methamphetamine dealers and users had rude awakenings early Tuesday morning as more than 90 officers from 12 law enforcement agencies joined forced to conduct a sweep through Upson and surrounding counties. More than 140 warrants were served on 68 to 72 individuals, with 42 being arrested on either conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine or conspiracy to possess methamphetamine. Thirty-three of those arrested are from Upson County. The raid happened at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, as officers were divided into 10 teams and given warrants. The investigation, which began in January 2011 after complaints from local citizens, resulted in the arrest of a major meth distributor in Upson County and his network of dealers. The arrests also have the potential of taking more than $42,000 a month in meth sales off the streets. At a press conference Tuesday, Narcotic Task Force Commander Allen McWhorter, DEA Senior Agent Stephen Tinsley of the Macon DEA Office, Upson County Sheriff’s Major Dan Kilgore, and Thomaston Police Chief Dan Greathouse talked about the investigation and resulting arrests. The investigation began after several citizen complaints were filed with the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. Thomaston Police Officer Brian Hammock, who is assigned to the DEA in Macon, led the investigation, which culminated in the sweep involving between 80 and 100 officers from Upson County Sheriff’s Office, Thomaston Police Department, Barnesville Police Department, Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, Griffin Police Department, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Zebulon Police Department, Georgia Department of Corrections K-9 Unit, State Probation and Parole, and Department of Natural Resources. In addition to the warrants being served in Upson, Lamar, Pike and Spalding counties, other drugs – marijuana, cocaine were also found. Chief Greathouse added that some copper was also found in Lamar County, and investigators are looking to see if it may be from any of the copper burglaries that have occurred recently. The main target of the raid was Brian Michael Kilby, 32, of 117 F Street in Thomaston. Agent Lindsey stated that Kilby had an almost daily routine of picking up the methamphetamine and distributing it. ”Kilby would go up to Atlanta to meet his sources, and bring larger quantities back down to Upson County,” said Lindsey. “Then he would call his distributors, and they would either meet at his house or he would deliver it in local parking lots around town, or somebody else’s house, and give them their quantity to go to sell for him. Kilby was the one making the profit. He was also the one supplying to friends, family members, on a daily basis. He was selling to support his own habit, as well as family members and friends of his.” The DEA Agent estimated that Kilby averaged bringing two pounds of methamphetamine a month into Upson County. He added that current wholesale prices for meth range from $15,000 to $21,000 a pound. ”Some months he brought more, some he brought less. His normal process was to go to Atlanta, get 9-12 ounces, come back down here and get rid of it, turn around and go back and get more, and maybe do that twice a day,” said Lindsey. “Every day was different. Some days he was going up and getting one ounce and coming back. It was just what he had the money for.” Kilby’s suppliers in Atlanta were three Hispanic men from Mexico, who were arrested in DeKalb County. ”Meth was being imported into this country from Mexico,” said Lindsey. “We will continue to investigate the evidence we collected in DeKalb County to try to take it back further down to see what lab it came from. Our lab will do an analysis and they can figure out where the drugs came from. But at this point, we don’t know what part of Mexico it came from.” All of those arrested Tuesday were white. Some were related, with a mother and daughter being arrested, sisters arrested, a sister and brother arrested, and a divorced couple arrested. Lindsey said it is not unusual for those busted for methamphetamine distribution to be white. ”In the interviews we did this morning, we learned of additional supply sources, and one of which is a black individual here in this community,” the DEA Agent said. “That is very uncommon. Most of them just deal with marijuana and cocaine and don’t get into methamphetamine. The ones that are doing it strictly for the money – meth is hot right now and that’s what they are making their money on.” Lindsey expects up to 15 of those arrested to face charges in federal court. He said more could face federal charges, but the number is set by how many cases the U. S. District Attorney can handle at one time. All of those arrested were booked into the Upson County Jail. Bond was estimated to be $2,500 per count. While it was a collaborative effort on the part of all the law enforcement departments involved to make the investigation a success, Chief Greathouse noted that it all started with local citizens being cognizant of what is going on around them and letting the police know. I’d like to stress the importance, too, that this case started from a citizen’s complaint. A lot of times we get citizens’ complaints, and it takes time from when they give us the information,” Greathouse said. “They may feel that something may or may not have been done, but we try to do something with all the complaints we get. Some work out, some don’t. But they just need to know that we are working on it, and if things work out, this is what can happen.” Major Kilgore added that he hoped this raid has a positive impact on the community. ”We want to make a difference in the community and feel like this was a long time coming – a ten month investigation – but we’ve had a lot of complaints that have come in during that time that we knew would be resolved by the end result of this investigation,” Kilgore said. “We’re going to take these people down every opportunity we get. You can count on it.” Following is a list of those arrested, their age, and where they are from: Upson County Dustin Eugene Bell, 30 Michael Roy Jones, 42 Joseph B. McKinley, 32 Ronald L. Thompson, 41 Jessica Rakestraw, 29 William Jason Heard, 33 Ryan Patrick Crummie, 37 Rodney Franklin McDaniel, 42 Richard Dustin Clay, 32 Amber Chelie Powell, 23 Jeanine S. Perkins, 54 Adam Nicolas Bruce, 33 Amanda Nichols Wilson, 25 Richard Franklin Griffin, 29 Rachel Michelle Raybon, 29 Timothy Randall Huff, 41 Allyson Brook Marshall, 30 Brian Michael Kilby, 32 Donald Jason Pollard, 35 Michelle Lynn Blankenship, 30 Kristie Renee Gibson, 30 Rachel Ann Adams Homer Rigdon, Jr., 48 John Stewart Wagner, 36 Jason B. Knight James Michael Adams, 37 Alma Christine Anglin, 54 Amanda Joe Johnson, 22 Brandy Michelle Macon, 33 Jamie Lynn Teal Kayla Elizabeth Bradshaw-Peppers Anna Nicole Rogers Helen Jeanne Petty Griffin Shirley Jean Brashears, 47 Jackie Smallwood, 41 Debra Lynn Bradshaw, 34 Benjamin Harper, 32 Barnesville Michael Holloway Cherrie A. Crummie, 30 Meansville Josh Shirley, 37 Williamson Janet Paige Parker, 44 Zebulon Gary Hilley, 53

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