By Carol McLeod
A total of 15 men were arrested and charged with drug offenses as a result of an undercover operation that began last September.
Officers from the Vidalia Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Wrens Police Department, Wadley Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol assisted Louisville Police Department in the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 16.
Officers split into three teams to cover the city and make the arrests. Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman was also on hand to lend support and make sure everything ran smoothly.
“The district attorney played an instrumental role,” said Lt. Teddy Jackson, an investigator with the Louisville Police Department. Jackson said officers from the drug unit with Vidalia’s police department did the undercover work.
“They ran 22 marijuana buys and eight cocaine buys,” Jackson said, adding a total of 50 warrants were taken.
Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller said every offense is on a separate warrant.
“It was a very smooth operation,” Miller said. “Smooth, coordinated and successful event. They put in a lot of hours in order to make this successful.”
Miller said the event would not have taken place without the help of the Vidalia Police Department.
“Without their assistance this operation would not have occurred at the level that it did. There’s no way it would have happened,” he said. “They utilized equipment that we did not have.”
Miller said he wanted to thank Vidalia’s police chief, Frank Waits, and the drug task force unit.
Officers arrested Rajonte Romelle McGruder, 19, from Louisville. He was charged with theft by conversion and one count of sale of marijuana.
Also arrested and charged were Robert Curry, 31, of Louisville, with two counts of sale of marijuana and two counts of distribution of controlled substance within 1,000 feet of housing project; Jake Williams III, 27, from Louisville, with two counts of sale of marijuana and one count of distribution of controlled substance within 1,000 feet of housing project; Sanford Sambriel Hall, 24, from Louisville, with one count of sale of cocaine; Jack Kentrell Joiner, 19, from Louisville, with one count of sale of marijuana; Quaitravious Santail Floyd, 19, from Louisville, with three counts of sale of marijuana and one count of distribution of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of housing project; Gary Donnell Hall, 27, from Louisville, with three counts of sale of cocaine and two counts of distribution of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school; Sykendrick Davon Jackson, 35, of Louisville, with one charge of sale of marijuana; Kwame Markeith Burton, 20, from Louisville, with two counts of sale of marijuana; Delmetrius Marquale Floyd, 18, from Louisville, with two counts of sale of cocaine and one of obstruction or hindering law enforcement officer; Trevin Kovrrivous Flournoy, 19, from Bartow, with two counts of sale of marijuana; Damien Randell Heath, 22, of Waynesboro, with one count of sale of cocaine and one count of distribution of controlled substance within 1,000 feet of housing project; Kendrick Judrez Sanders, 32, of Stone Mountain, with one count of sale of marijuana and one count of sale of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a housing development; Jeffery Walker , 23; Louisville, with one count of sale of marijuana and one count of sale of marijuana within 1,000 housing project; and Bryant James, 19, of Louisville, with one count of unlawful sale of counterfeit substance; Randy Carr Jr., 21, of Waynesboro, with one count of sale of marijuana; and Antonio Markel Greene, 23, of Wadley, with one count of sale of cocaine and one count of sale of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a housing project.
Walker and James were already in jail on other charges. Carr and Greene turned themselves in.
Another individual is in jail on another matter. His name is not being released as warrants had not been served as of press time Tuesday.
Miller said all of the sale charges are felonies.
Jackson said officers are still looking for three other people whose names have not been released at this time.
Prior to serving the warrants, officers met to divide into teams and receive the names, addresses and warrants of the individuals.
Jackson told the officers to use caution when entering the houses with children.
“Everyone please wear your protective vests,” he said. “Ten out of the ones we’re looking for are convicted felons.”
Altman also told the officers to be careful.
“To stress what Teddy (Jackson) said, there will be school-age children,” he said. “When you go in there, there is the potential for danger.”
He also commended the officers for their work and said, “When you have these kinds of operations, you are giving relief to your community.”
In an interview Tuesday, the district attorney addressed his appreciation for the efforts and work done by all of the officers involved.
“It was an excellent job by the Louisville Police Department and with the investigator they now have, it shows the concern that the mayor and the council have for the public safety of the citizens of Louisville,” he said.
Miller said this event was phase one.
“We are going to continue to work the street-level drug dealers in this area as aggressively as we can to deter the activity,” Miller said in an interview.
Keysville man held after arrest at Fort
By Faye Ellison
A Keysville man is still being held at the Jefferson County Jail by the United State Marshall’s Office after he was arrested Tuesday, June 15, for attempting to steal an infrared aiming laser.
It was reported in an arrest warrant filed last Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Augusta that Anthony Todd Saxon, 34, was dressed in a complete Army combat uniform, including rank and other insignia, when he walked into Fort Gordon’s military police office and requested the aiming laser for a training exercise.
Saxon reportedly told the captain at the office that he was a master sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division and needed the equipment for training, which the captain provided. Saxon signed a receipt for the laser.
After becoming suspicious, military police stopped Saxon, where he gave consent to search his vehicle and was questioned. Officers found a land mine that was real, the aiming laser, knives, night-vision devices, a Kevlar-covered helmet, flash grenades and more than 1,800 rounds of ammunition.
Richmond County bomb squad technicians detonated one of the devices as a precaution, authorities said at a news conference last week at the Fort Gordon Law Enforcement Center.
At least two of the grenades were the nonlethal “flash-bang” variety and three other devices were harmless, said Col. Glenn Kennedy, Fort Gordon’s garrison commander.
“The majority of devices were inert,” Kennedy said. “They wouldn’t have exploded any more than the cushion in your car would have exploded.”
A flash-bang grenade is a nonlethal stun grenade designed to disorient with blinding light and loud noise.
Chief Willie McClinton, of the Fort Gordon Directorate of Emergency Services, would not identify Saxon, but indicated that he was a suspect in a theft from the post in April.
A member of the community alerted police Tuesday after recognizing Saxon’s vehicle from the previous theft and Saxon was apprehended near the Directorate of Logistics building on 15th Street.
Though he told his family they needed to move to Georgia around Thanksgiving for a job at Fort Gordon, Saxon told authorities after his arrest that he served in the Army National Guard for two years in the 1990s before he was released because of health reasons. He had never served in the U.S. Army, according to an affidavit signed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Jason S. Gustin.
After a hearing on Monday with the United States Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield, Saxon was charged with impersonating a soldier, theft of government property, possessing a firearm by a convicted felon, possessing a silencer and unlawful possession of explosives.
The father of three’s wife, Rhonda Saxon, said in a phone interview with The Augusta Chronicle that she was stunned by the arrest. She arrived home Tuesday to find police officers, FBI and the bomb squad removing items. She said they removed all her sons’ guns and several grenades and bombs her husband made to look like the real thing.
“I don’t understand,” Rhonda Saxon said. “I was under the impression he was leaving for Iraq Thursday.”
She and her husband moved from Florida to Keysville in December.
Rhonda Saxon told The Chronicle she believed they moved to the area because her husband had a job at Fort Gordon.
“I just don’t understand how this could have been a lie,” Rhonda Saxon said.
Family members also claimed Saxon told them he was to be deployed overseas last week. Saxon’s parents and his sister traveled from Florida last week to visit him because they believed he was to be deployed Thursday, his father testified Monday.
Later at the home where Saxon and his family were living with his brother’s family, federal agents found more weapons including a military-style rifle equipped with a silencer that was stolen from a gun dealership in January.
Saxon always wanted to be in the military “from the day he was born,” Hugh Edward Saxon said. His son was crushed when he was discharged from the Army National Guard in 1995 because of a heart condition.
Judge Barfield said during the hearing on Monday that he found Saxon posed a danger to the community, was a particularly troubled by Saxon’s pattern of deception in holding himself out as an Army master sergeant on the verge of combat deployment and his accumulation of an array of weapons.
The information in this article was obtained from the reporting of Augusta Chronicle staff Bianca Cain, Adam Folk and Sandy Hodson.
SCLC marches in protest of Wadley police
A group representing the interests of citizens in Wadley held a march and a protest rally in Wadley Saturday, June 19.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference held several meetings during the week prior to the march, asking for citizens who have had problems with the police to step forward.
James Ivery, the president of the Jefferson County chapter of the SCLC, said they have received complaints from citizens about being harassed by police officers and having their civil rights violated.
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About 25 people marched from the city’s community center to a small parking lot across the street from the police station. They held signs and chanted, “What do we want? Action. When do we need it? Now. Fired up. Fed up. No justice. No peace.”
The rally after the march lasted about an hour.
One of the speakers told the group, “The police force can’t do more than what we let them do.”
He then said to the police officers who were on hand for crowd control, “I appreciate that you would give your life for your citizens.”
Another speaker said, “This is not about the Wadley police department, this is about the leadership.”
Ivery said the event went as well as planned.
“We made a great impact,” he said.
Ivery said he is in the process of scheduling a public forum and hopes the city’s police chief, Wesley Lewis, can attend and discuss the issues.
Citizens in attendance at several of the most recent city council meetings have spoken out about the police department and are divided in their comments. Council members have said citizens have complained to them about being harassed by officers. Other citizens have stated during the public meetings that they support the chief and the department and think the officers are doing a great job.
Several city council members have said in public meetings they are opposed to Lewis and want him to be removed from office. They have not had enough support in council to veto the mayor, Herman Baker, from keeping Lewis on the job.
Ivery said in an interview Monday the forum is currently scheduled for Saturday, July 17, at 10 a.m. at the Wadley public library.