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.
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:
- Chad Harrelson and Brandi Freeman’s residence, 550 Welcome Home Road, Mt. Airy, Georgia;
- James Heumaneus’ residence, 399 Circle Drive, Cornelia, Georgia;
- Bud Heaton and Karen Shope’s residence, 293Airport Road, Baldwin, Georgia;
- Jackie Galliher’s residence, 199 Ivy Hills Circle, Mt. Airy, Georgia; and
- Janie Rogers’ residence, 2276 Kesler Road, Carnesville, Georgia.
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);
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.
Decatur, GA – Within the past week, the GBI Crime Lab’s drug identification unit received three cases from separate seizures of the synthetic opioid carfentanil. Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog used as a tranquilizer on large animals such as elephants.
It is purported to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl and suspected of playing a role in hundreds of overdoses in the Midwest part of the country this past month. It can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and very toxic in small quantities. The cases that came in the lab were from the metro Atlanta area and were all suspected to be heroin. As a result of this drug coming into the GBI Crime Lab, lab scientists have enhanced their safety protocols to protect them from the potential dangers.
Some of the changes include wearing a face mask as well as testing any case suspected to contain heroin under a ventilated hood. Officer safety is of grave concern and all officers are strongly encouraged to take extreme caution when handling any suspected opioid.
Carfentanil is not intended for human use and the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan may be effective but only after multiple doses. The public is urged to be aware of the extreme dangers of handling and consuming carfentanil.