Habersham overdose leads to felony murder charges

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ARDEO

CLARKESVILLE, Ga. – On Feb. 9, 2018, the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO), the Mt. Airy Police Department, and the Department of Corrections executed five opioid-related search warrants in Habersham and Franklin counties.

During the course of a five-month overdose death investigation of Adam Hicks, ARDEO Agents identified a heroin distribution ring in north Georgia. Authorities executed five search warrants and charged five people with violating the Georgia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. The investigation also uncovered additional people from Adam Hick’s inner circle that were distributing heroin and oxycodone.

Appalachian Drug Task Force

As a result of the evidence and information developed, Habersham County authorities have arrested Ashley Sosbee for felony murder in the overdose death of Adam Hicks. Authorities have worked tirelessly to bring the people responsible for the death of Adam Hick to justice. This investigation speaks loudly to opioid dealers that law enforcement will not sit idly on the sidelines as the people in communities die.

 

Authorities served search warrants at:

  1. Chad Harrelson and Brandi Freeman’s residence, 550 Welcome Home Road, Mt. Airy, Georgia;
  2. James Heumaneus’ residence, 399 Circle Drive, Cornelia, Georgia;
  3. Bud Heaton and Karen Shope’s residence, 293Airport Road, Baldwin, Georgia;
  4. Jackie Galliher’s residence, 199 Ivy Hills Circle, Mt. Airy, Georgia; and
  5. Janie Rogers’ residence, 2276 Kesler Road, Carnesville, Georgia.

Appalachian Drug Task ForceHabersham authorities executed arrest warrants for violations of the Georgia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act for:

Ashley Sosbee 25, of Alto, Georgia;

Jordan Flanagan, 25, of Alto, Georgia;

Brandon Burton, 25, of Cornelia, Georgia;

Dustin Thomas, 22, of Alto, Georgia;

Grant Martin, 21, of Cornelia, Georgia;

Jessica Hancock, 23, of Clarkesville, Georgia; and

Patricia Blacklock, 20, of Gainesville, Georgia.

Habersham authorities also executed arrest warrants for the following people:

Cole Dalton, 19, of Alto, Georgia – Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin;

Bud Heaton, 76, of Baldwin, Georgia – Sale of Controlled Substances Schedule II (Oxycodone), Possession Schedule II With Intent to Distribute Oxycodone;

James Heumaneus, 48, of Cornelia, Georgia – Sale of Controlled Substances Schedule II (Oxycodone);

Janie Rogers, 49, of Carnesville, Georgia – Sale of Schedule II (Oxycodone), Possession of Marijuana Less Than One Ounce, Possession of Controlled Substance Schedule II (Oxycodone);

Karen Shope, 40, of Baldwin, Georgia – Sale of Controlled Substance Schedule I (Methamphetamine) x 2.Habersham methamphetamine Shope has not been arrested yet;

Tina Smelcer, 47, of Cornelia, Georgia – Possession of Schedule II Control Substance;

Tilynn Ivester, 49, of Baldwin, Georgia – Possession of Schedule IV Control Substance;

Brandi Freeman, 33, of Mt. Airy, Georgia – Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Distribute and Abandonment of Dangerous Drugs;

James Chadrick Harrelson, 35, of Mt. Airy, Georgia –Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Distribute and Abandonment of Dangerous Drugs; and

Jacqueline Galliher, 44, of Mt. Airy, Georgia – Possession of Controlled Substance Schedule IV and Possession of Schedule II.

The Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office is a multi-agency unit that consists of the following Sheriff’s Offices: White County, Lumpkin County, Towns County, Banks County, Habersham County, Stephens County, Rabun County and Franklin County, along with the Cleveland Police Department, Lavonia Police Department, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Department of Public Safety, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sheriff’s Desk: Multimillion Dollar Methamphetamine Operation Results in Arrests

News, Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

From the Desk of Sheriff Chris Clinton

Towns County, Georgia

 

I have long believed that one of the secrets to success in criminal investigations is networking and sharing information with other law enforcement agencies.

In 2007, after being elected Sheriff of Towns County, I became a member of the Appalachian Drug Task Force. At that time we had four sheriff’s offices in the task force.

In 2012, the other board members saw fit to ask me to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board. Around that same time, one of the four sheriffs decided to pull out of the task force, leaving only three sheriffs involved. Many tried to pressure me to pull out of the “drug task force” calling it a waste of time. I did not believe this to be true and still do not.

After our board members voted to become a regional drug enforcement office serving North Georgia the name was changed to the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office (ARDEO). By this time, Banks County Sheriff’s Office had joined us and we were back to four. As it stands today, we have grown to include Towns County Sheriff’s Office, White County Sheriff’s Office, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Banks County Sheriff’s Office, Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, Rabun County Sheriff’s Office and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Cleveland Police Department, Lavonia Police Department, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Department of Public Safety, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

That is a lot of agencies, sharing a lot of criminal intelligence. But, has it been effective?

By 2016, the ARDEO had made seizures of more than $36,000,000.00. ARDEO is one of three Regional Drug Enforcement Offices in the State of Georgia. The other two are the West Metro (Atlanta area) and Savannah, Chatham County. As large as those areas are, the ARDEO has kept pace and, in some areas, surpassed the standard set by the other two.

This past weekend was no exception. The following information was provided originally by Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mitchell Posey, who supervises our drug agents. On Friday, September 15th, 2017, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office and the FBI’s North Georgia Major Offender Squad disrupted a methamphetamine trafficking ring in North Georgia.

A traffic stop of Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago and Victor Rafael Aponte yielded the seizure of 15 kilograms of methamphetamine. During the subsequent investigation, Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office and FBI Agents executed a search warrant at 990 Flanders Road, Dahlonega, GA. Valentine Duarte-Vejar ran from this residence, but was captured in the possession of a handgun. This search warrant yielded a few grams of cocaine and $166,000. Agents continued to follow investigative leads until a conversion lab was located at 843 Cooper’s Creek Road, Suches, Union County, GA. A conversion lab is used to convert liquid methamphetamine to its crystal form.

Agents located a handgun and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the lab. ARDEO Agents processed approximately 300 pounds of environmental waste largely containing methamphetamine oil. Agents on scene estimated this lab was capable of producing a minimum of 25-50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at a time. This short but effective investigation was a federal, state, and local partnership that disrupted and dismantled a drug distribution network’s attempt to flood our communities with this destructive drug for their own financial gain. The street value of the 30 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine is $3,234,000.

Angel Luis Rivera- Santiago, 42, of Norcross, Victor Rafael Aponte, 30, of Dahlonega and Valentine Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Eleoncio Perez-Pineda, 29, of Dahlonega, and Jose Mario Duarte-Vejar, 25, of Dahlonega were later arrested in Dahlonega and charged with conspiracy to manufactory methamphetamine. These five men were transported to the Lumpkin County Detention Center. The immigration status of these men is still pending. This investigation continues.

Valentine Duarte-Vejar ran from this residence, but was captured in the possession of a handgun. This search warrant yielded a few grams of cocaine and $166,000. Agents continued to follow investigative leads until a conversion lab was located at 843 Cooper’s Creek Road, Suches, Union County, GA. A conversion lab is used to convert liquid methamphetamine to its crystal form. Agents located a handgun and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the lab. ARDEO Agents processed approximately 300 pounds of environmental waste largely containing methamphetamine oil. Agents on scene estimated this lab was capable of producing a minimum of 25-50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at a time. This short but effective investigation was a federal, state, and local partnership that disrupted and dismantled a drug distribution network’s attempt to flood our communities with this destructive drug for their own financial gain. The street value of the 30 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine is $3,234,000

None of this would have been possible without the combined efforts and partnerships developed. I think we are on the right track in keeping our community safe from the dangerous criminals and the poison they pedal.

If you have information regarding criminal behavior, please do not hesitate to contact your sheriff’s office at 706-896-4444 or in an emergency dial 911.

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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