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October 28, 2004 Issue

A multi-agency drug raid and reverse sting operation in Glascock County nets six arrests and the seizure of powered cocaine, marijuana and crack cocaine. The operation begins and ends at a Rabun Circle residence with a stop in between at a second residence where marijuana and powered cocaine were seized and two arrests made.

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Polls open Tuesday in elections
GBI says it can find no poison in cookie

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Six busted in sting

Officers from several departments worked together to catch drug purchasers in area where it had been sold before

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

A multi-agency drug raid and reverse sting operation on Rabun Circle in Glascock County Friday night resulted in six arrests and the seizure of more than 14 grams of suspected powdered and crack cocaine, nearly six ounces of suspected marijuana and other drug related objects.

The operation began at 6:45 p.m. with officers from Glascock County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Richmond County Sheriff's K-9 Task Force, Georgia Dept. of Highway Safety and Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources converging on an unoccupied residence at 9693 Rabun Circle just off SR 80 in Glascock County. Glascock County Sheriff Bryan Bopp organized the operation after receiving reports that alleged drug sales had been occurring from a vehicle recently parked on the property. The alleged drug purchases were made from individuals sitting inside the vehicle, parked within feet of the front porch of the house. A fire burning inside a 55-gallon barrel had also been previously observed by officers during the alleged purchases.

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During the initial stage of the operation, officers rushed onto the property, quickly subduing the two men sitting in the car while other officers entered the house. The men had no drugs in their possession and were later released. Finding no one inside, officers learned that the two men allegedly selling the drugs had fled to a nearby residence after a local resident had arrived at the house challenging their presence, allegedly at gunpoint. Two Jefferson County deputies stayed behind with the men found at the location while the remainder moved quickly to the 10219 Rabun Circle residence. As they arrived, officers found 22-year-old Mitchell resident Cedric Donta Ivey and Latawrence Prince Hobbs, 22, of the Rabun Circle address, positioned at the suspected drug vehicle outside the residence. An initial search of the vehicle and property left officers empty handed until a blue plastic bag containing 161 grams of suspected marijuana and 8.9 grams of suspected powdered cocaine were recovered after being detected by the Richmond K-9 drug dog. The dog alerted to the drugs in a wooded area of the property approximately 75 feet from where the vehicle was parked. Both men were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

While officers were occupied at the 10219 Rabun Circle address, the two Jefferson County deputies stationed inside the abandoned house encountered the same Glascock resident that had moments earlier arrived to run off the drug dealers. The man arrived at the house and entered. Realizing that he was armed, deputies were forced to draw down on him and subdue him when he failed to comply with their instructions. The man had tried to take action against the drug dealers instead of letting officers take the appropriate action and do their job, said Bopp. The man was not charged.

Meanwhile, with Ivey and Hobbs now in custody, officers returned to the abandoned house and laid plans for a reverse sting. A Jefferson County deputy assumed the role of a drug dealer. Conforming to the method being used to sell drugs from the vehicle outside the residence, the deputy positioned himself inside the vehicle to pose as a drug dealer, while other officers found wood for the fire. When the scene was set, officers waited covertly in locations around the vehicle and the property.

The reverse sting came to life quickly when a vehicle pulled into the residence and alongside the drug car. Telling the occupants that the usual dealers left him in charge in the absence, the deputy was asked if he would provide the drugs they sought. As the transaction was about to occur, officers converged on the vehicle containing 35 year-old Stapleton resident Johnny Jordan III, 24 year-old Wrens resident Joseph Vaughner and a female driver. Vaughner was found with 5.5 grams of suspected crack cocaine in his possession and was subsequently charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and criminal attempt to purchase drugs. Jordan was charged with possession of a drug related object. The woman was not charged.

The second potential buyer arrived soon after the occupants of the first vehicle had been spirited away to a location toward the rear of the house, taking their place with the remainder of those already in custody. Implementing the same procedure, the buyer pulled next to the drug car, unaware that officers were in position. Once he asked the deputy if he could make a purchase, 53 year-old Edward Kobetitsch and 21 year-old Susan Bolton, both of Gibson, were rushed and taken into custody. Both were charged with criminal attempt to purchase drugs.

The evening's operation ended with a total of six arrests and the seizure of 161 grams of suspected marijuana, 5.5 grams of suspected crack cocaine, 8.9 grams of suspected powdered cocaine, electronic scales and drug paraphernalia.





Polls open Tuesday in elections

Five positions sought in Glascock; two in Jefferson

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

The seemingly endless political season will end Nov. 2 at polling places around Jefferson and Glascock counties and across the nation. When the dust settles in local races, Glascock County races for sheriff, Mill District Commissioner, county commission chairman, probate judge and the school board's Edgehill District. As will the commission seats for District 2 and 4 in Jefferson County.

Glascock voters will decide the outcome of the sheriff's race between incumbent Democrat Bryan Bopp, Republican James Stephens and Independent Dean Couch. The Mill District commission race features incumbent Democrat Johnny S. Crutchfield and Republican D'Ann Simpson while the race for commission chairman includes Democrat Joe L. Dixon, Jr. and Democrat Anthony "Ant" Griswell.

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The contest for Glascock Probate Judge features incumbent Democrat Denise Dallas and Independent Carol Jordan Price. The non-partisan Edgehill District school board to succeed the unexpired term of the late Danny Milburn includes Trey Franks and Scott Jimmy Kelley.

Glascock voters will also decide whether to extend the county's current one-percent sales tax to complete the funding of the courthouse renovation project and other secondary projects if sufficient sales tax revenue is generated.

Jefferson County races will include the District 2 county commission race between Democrat Johnny Davis and Republican Bruce E. "Ben" Benson and the District 4 commission race between incumbent Democrat H. G. Tommy New and Republican John H. Lewis. Other races in Jefferson County are unopposed.

Contested races with regional impact in Jefferson County include the U.S. Representative for the 12th U.S. Congressional District pitting incumbent Republican Max Burns against Democratic challenger John Barrow, the Senate race featuring incumbent Republican Randy Hall and Democrat J. B. Powell, the state representative race between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Lord and Republican Stephen Cabe and the U.S. Senate race featuring Republican Johnny Isakson, Democrat Denise L. Majette and Libertarian Allen Buckley.

Also on the ballot will be two statewide proposed constitutional amendments. The measures include Senate Resolution 595, which reads, "Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?" also on the ballot is House Resolution 68, which reads, "Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction and authority to answer questions of law from any state appellate or federal district or appellate court?"

(See Sample ballots on Pages 9-10A)





GBI says it can find no poison in cookie

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

An announcement Monday about the results of lab tests performed on suspect cookies alleged to have made several Glascock County students sick left more questions than answers.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a statement Monday saying the state crime lab had conducted all the tests they could on the suspect cookie and found no illegal or foreign substance. GBI has already interviewed and polygraphed a number of individuals, said GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Hughes of the Thomson office. Additional interviews will be conducted and the agency will turn over the findings to the district attorney sometime in November, Hughes said.

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The announcement was preceded last week by a small group of parents hoping to obtain answers about test results at the Glascock County School Board meeting. Board members told residents that no new information on the incident was available. Speaking at the Oct. 21 meeting, Sheriff Bryan Bopp reiterated that point, telling parents he also wanted answers but had to follow the process and abide by the law.

Superintendent Jim Holton told parents that GBI had taken control of the investigation. He said GBI agents have interviewed faculty and others that might have information.

Though few in number, those parents and others concerned about the illnesses and the lack of available information expressed their frustration with being unable to understand why the investigation was taking so long and why no action had been taken against one of the students.

Though GBI declined an invitation to attend the meeting, Horton said he had been informed that, at this point, the investigation has yielded no evidence that a criminal act had been committed. Though some parents and community members have pressed for answers and action, Holton said the school board is acting in the only appropriate manner possible under the circumstances. The school board, he said, is required to have all the facts before taking any action.

Bopp told those attending that blood samples had been taken and submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in addition to the cookie samples supplied to the state crime lab. Holton and Bopp reminded parents that despite the number of rumors spreading around the county, it must be the facts that determine the outcome of the investigation. It is only based upon the facts that any determination of wrongdoing can be made, they said.

The Oct. 1 incident began when a Glascock County Consolidated School student shared a number of cookies with several teachers and students.

A total of eight students, ages 14-17, complained of extreme nausea after another student took several left over cookies to another class and shared them with classmates. Paramedics were called after complaints of nausea, stomach cramps and dry heaves, said Principal Sally Garrett. Six of the students were taken by their parents for treatment and were subsequently released. Two freshman girls were kept overnight at McDuffie Hospital for observation and released the following day.


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