HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department was involved in a vehicle pursuit Monday, March 2, prior to the arrest of a suspect on drug charges. According to information obtained from the city agency, the chase began at approximately 12:35 pm, ending a short time later.
The vehicle that the suspect was driving was reported as “pitted twice” by a law enforcement officer who attempted to initiate a traffic stop, leading to the apprehension of John Caleb Nicholson of Hiawassee.
By definition, a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver is a pursuit tactic by which law enforcement can force a fleeing vehicle to abruptly turn sideways, causing a suspect to stop. The technique is typically used by officers as a safer alternative to ending dangerous motor vehicle pursuits.
Nicholson was taken into custody and transported to the Towns County Detention Center. Charges were listed as pending at the time of publication.
FYN will provide additional information on the incident as it is made available by Hiawassee Police Department.
Nicholson is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department arrested two subjects on drug possession charges Jan. 19, following a traffic stop conducted on a 2006 BMW on North Main Street. A patrol officer with the city law enforcement division witnessed a near-collision between the vehicle and another motorist, initiating the stop for improper use of the center turning lane.
In the arrest report obtained by FYN, Hiawassee Police Department cited observation of a “strong odor of marijuana coming from within the vehicle.” Upon further investigation, marijuana and methamphetamine were discovered in the subjects’ possessions.
Angela Jazmin Daurte, 20, of Gainesville, GA, was placed under arrest for the following offenses: Improper use of central turning lane, driving on the wrong class of license, possession of marijuana less than one ounce, and drug-related objects.
The passenger, Alejandro Macias Aguilar, 25, of Gainesville, GA, was taken into custody and charged with the following crimes: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana less than one ounce, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of a drug-related object.
The suspects were transported to the Towns County Detention Center for processing.
The cases will be forwarded to Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Daurte and Aguilar are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department released its 2019 statistics this week, including a breakdown of the incidents and arrests made in the city limits last year.
“Three hundred sixty-four reports were filed. That’s almost one a day. Two hundred eighteen of those were incident reports. Those were reports where a crime has occurred,” Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith began. Smith said that 47 miscellaneous reports were filed in 2019, explaining that the reports consisted of information passed onto law enforcement that did not necessarily constitute a crime. Ninety-four of the 364 reports involved accidents, two were domestic violence-related, and three juvenile subjects were included in the data.
“The rest of the time we spent patrolling and stopping cars. We stopped 1,061 cars last year. From those, we wrote 681 tickets. These are tickets where they actually needed to either pay a fine or appear in court, and then 426 written warnings,” Smith said. “The 681 (tickets), we actually wrote the exact same number the year prior too.”
Hiawassee Police Department’s arrests decreased by double in contrast to 2017 data. In 2019, a total of 113 suspects were taken into custody.
“Just to compare that to the previous two years, the (overall) arrests have gone down, and that’s a great thing. It’s not from us getting lazy and not doing our job,” Smith explained. “It’s from a lack of offenders to arrest.”
A total of 48 drug arrests were conducted last year, a slight increase from 2018.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department’s newest addition to the agency, Buddy, a drug-detection K-9, positively indicated the presence of methamphetamine and marijuana following a Jan. 6 routine traffic stop.
An officer with the Hiawassee Police Department conducted the stop on a 1999 Dodge Durango for a tag light violation on State Route 75 North. Upon initial investigation and indication of an illicit substance within the vehicle by the drug-detection K-9, methamphetamine and marijuana were discovered by law enforcement.
Michell Ann Phillips, 47, of Frankin, NC, was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Towns County Detention Center. Phillips was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug-Related Objects, and Required Tag Light Illumination.
“This was the first arrest made based on a positive alert by Buddy,” Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith told FYN.
The case will be forwarded to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Phillips is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Buddy, a two-year-old yellow labrador, was trained and donated to Hiawassee Police Department in September by Ed Able, owner and operator of P.A.W.S. Dog Training K-9 Behavior Center, in Young Harris. Able, a 40-year veteran canine trainer, told FetchYourNews last May that his goal in forming the organization was based on training canines for law enforcement and first responders. Able said that it typically takes six-to-eight weeks to train the canines, followed by additional time spent in the field teamed with the handler.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department arrested a Rabun County resident on methamphetamine charges Jan. 1, following a traffic stop conducted on a 1989 Ford 250 truck for an obstructed windshield violation. Shon Moxley, 48, of Mountain City, Georgia, reportedly told an officer with the city police department that he was traveling to Hayesville, North Carolina, to visit a friend when the traffic stop incurred on South Main Street.
According to the police report obtained by FYN, it was determined by law enforcement that Moxley was a felony probationer. Following an initial investigation, Hiawassee Police Department initiated a search of Moxley’s vehicle and person, allegedly discovering a clear baggie containing a “white crystal-like substance consistent with methamphetamine” in Moxley’s pocket.
While the Fourth Amendment typically prevents law enforcement from searching someone’s body, belongings, or home without a warrant or probable cause, it is common for judges to require that a probationer agree to warrantless searches as a condition of sentencing. Because this condition gives up the probationer’s Fourth Amendment rights, it’s often called a “Fourth waiver.”
Moxley was taken into custody and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Drug-Related Object, and View Obstructed/Windshield violations. Moxley was transported to Towns County Detention Center in Young Harris.
The case will be forwarded to Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Moxley is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department conducted a traffic stop on North Main Street Tuesday, Nov. 19, on a gray Chevrolet Silverado, leading to the arrest of a South Carolina resident. According to the police report obtained by FYN, a female subject was allegedly witnessed using a cellular device while driving at the time that the traffic stop was initiated.
Deborah Lynn Miles, 43, of Pelzer, SC, was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug-Related Objects following an investigation and vehicle search by the city’s law enforcement division.
A female passenger was charged with Open Container after alcohol was discovered in the vehicle.
Miles reportedly relayed to the arresting officer that she was using GPS mapping on her cellular device at the time of the traffic stop.
Miles and the passenger were transported to Towns County Detention Center. Both suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Georgia’s “Hands-Free” law took effect July 1, 2018, stating that:
- Drivers cannot have a phone in their hand or touching any part of their body while talking on their phone while driving.
- Even with hands-free technology, drivers cannot write, read or send text messages, e-mails, social media content, and other internet data while on the road. (Voice to text is allowed)
- Drivers cannot watch videos when they are on the road. (Navigational/GPS videos are allowed)
- Drivers cannot use their phones or electronic devices to record video when they are on the road. (Continuously running dash cams are allowed)
Drivers may listen to streaming music that does not include videos on the screen of their phone or device while driving but cannot touch their phones while on the road to activate or program any music streaming app. Streaming music that is controlled by and listened through the vehicle’s radio is allowed. Drivers who need to touch their phones to activate/program their music streaming apps must do so before getting on the road
- The fine for a first conviction is $50.00 and 1 point assessed against the driver’s license. The fine is $100.00 and 2 points for a second conviction and $150.00 and 3 points for three or more convictions. The fines for a 2nd or 3rd offense only apply when the date of a 2nd or 3rd conviction takes place within 24 months of the date of the first conviction. First-time offenders can have the charge dropped by showing the court they have obtained a device that allows them to talk on a phone with hands-free technology or devices.
Hiawassee, GA – As previously reported by FYN on Oct. 23, officers with the Hiawassee Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle Oct. 20 for numerous equipment violations. During the traffic stop, officers searched the vehicle and located methamphetamine, cocaine, and other drugs and drug paraphernalia. Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested.
James Bailey was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Less than One Ounce of Marijuana, Possession, and Use of Drug Related Objects (x3), Failure to Maintain Brake Lights, and Defective Lighting Equipment. Rachel Goodwin was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Less than One Ounce of Marijuana, and Possession and Use of Drug Related Objects (x3).
“It has been several years since we have seen cocaine in Hiawassee,” Chief Paul Smith stated Nov. 6. “Bailey and Goodwin also had other drugs in their possession that we were unable to identify with our field test kits. Those drugs have been submitted to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Crime Lab for testing and identification. Once the drugs are identified, additional charges may be brought against the two. As always, I am very proud of the hard work done by the officers of this department.”
According to law enforcement, the unidentified substance appeared to be “black tar” heroin.
Additionally, Hiawassee Police Department officers stopped Daniel Jones Oct. 27 for a moving violation. Upon searching the vehicle, officers located multiple bags of methamphetamine which were packaged for distribution. Jones was arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession, and Use of Drug-Related Objects (x2), Possession of Less than One Ounce of Marijuana, Driving While License Suspended, and Improper Use of Central Turn Lane.
Hiawassee Police Department serves within the city limits of Hiawassee.
The cases have been turned over to the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Two females were arrested and charged with drug possession Tuesday, Sept. 17, following a traffic stop conducted on Bell Creek Road by Hiawassee Police Department.
Upon investigation, Darla Lin Conner, 36, and Shannon Marie Austin, 35, both of Blairsville, GA, were taken into custody after a vehicle search led to the discovery of illicit substances. A male passenger was released without charges after officers determined that the subject was not in posssession of illegal items. According to the arresting officer’s report, the “faint odor of green marijuana” was detected in the vehicle, giving the officer probable cause to search
Darla Lin Conner was charged with the following: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a drug related object, and brake light requirements.
Shannon Marie Austin was charged with the following: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of a drug related object, possession of a controlled substance (morphine) and possession of a dangerous drug.
Several morphine pills were reported by law enforcement as found in a small box with Austin’s possessions. Morphine is a prescribed narcotic used medically to relieve acute or chronic moderate to severe pain.
The case will be forwarded to Enotah District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Austin and Conner are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, GA. – Two suspects were taken into custody by Hiawassee Police Department on methamphetamine charges outside of Towns County Fire Station 1 on Sims Circle during the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 14. Towns County 911 received a call from one of the subjects who stated concern for the second subject’s safety. Hiawassee Police Department was dispatched to the location of the complaint. Towns County Sheriff’s Office assisted the city police agency on scene.
Upon arrival at the Towns County Fire Station, officers questioned the subjects who, according to the police report, willfully turned over a small quantity of methamphetamine to law enforcement without incident.
The subjects were identified as Alexander Raymond Ide, 20, and Jonathan Mathis Groundwater, 32, both of Hiawassee.
Ide was charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug-related objects. Groundwater was charged with possession of methamphetamine. The suspects were transported to the Towns County Detention Center. The case will be forwarded to Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Ide and Groundwater are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
According to the police report, officers had earlier encountered Ide and Groundwater at the nearby Valero gas station. The duo were asked by law enforcement to vacate the property to avoid loitering. Following their arrests, a criminal trespass warning was issued to the suspects by a Towns County deputy, advising Ide and Groundwater not to return to the fire department property in the future.
Following request for documentation on the above incident, Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith informed FetchYourNews (FYN) that three additional methamphetamine arrests had occurred in recent days within the city limits. FYN will follow-up on the subsequent arrests once the newly-requested reports are completed by the department.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence on State Highway 76 in Hiawassee Wednesday, Sept. 11 in reference to a reported burglary. Upon arrival, deputies met with the homeowners who advised a white male had entered the residence, leaving the area on foot. A lookoiut was placed on the subject and a perimeter was formed by law enforcement. A deputy located the suspect at a Hiawassee restaurant shorthy thereafter. The items reported as stolen from the residence were recovered with the exception of a cellular phone.
Hubert Gibson, 54, of Blue Ridge, GA was identified as the suspect involved.
Gibson was arrested without incident and charged with burglary, theft by taking, and criminal trespass.
Towns County Sheriff’s Offiice extends appreciation to Hiawassee Police Department for their assistance in seachung the area for the suspect. The case will be forwarded to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Gibson is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Two additional drug dealers were recently taken off the streets of Hiawassee. On June 30, Richard Deaton of Flowery Branch, GA was stopped by the Hiawassee Police Department for a vehicle equipment violation. A probable cause search of Deaton revealed 18 grams of methamphetamine and 4 grams of marijuana. Deaton was arrested and charged with: Turn Signal Requirements, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.
On Sunday, July 28, Hiawassee Police Department stopped a vehicle for a violation of Georgia’s hands-free law. The driver was arrested for driving with a suspended driver’s license. An inventory of the vehicle revealed 98 grams of methamphetamine and 28 grams of marijuana. Joseph Llorens of Cleveland, GA was charged with: Driver to Exercise Due Care, Driving While License Suspended, Possession and Use of Drug Related Objects, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute, and Trafficking Methamphetamine.
“While it is unfortunate that people are bringing these drugs into our community, our officers are doing a fantastic job in detecting and arresting those who are responsible,” Chief Paul Smith stated. “Arresting the drug dealers is a very important step in combating the drug problem. I’m proud of the work we’re doing in Hiawassee.”
The discovery of 98 grams of methamphetamine is one of the largest drug seizures by the Hiawassee Police Department, Smith said.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Department arrested and charged three suspects with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug-related objects shortly after noon on Sunday, April 28. An officer with the city law enforcement agency conducted a search after stopping a red Chevrolet S-10 for an expired license plate, near Valero gas station on State Route 76.
Robert David West, 40, of Hiawassee, was the driver of the vehicle at the time the traffic stop was initiated. Passengers included Mindy Lynn Taschner, 47, and Michael Cale Bowers, 25.
Hiawassee Police Department executed a probable cause-based search of the vehicle upon detecting the odor of marijuana, leading to the discovery of methamphetamine and drug-related objects. The three suspects were taken into custody and transported to Towns County Detention Center, each independently charged with possession of a controlled substance. The driver of the vehicle was additionally charged with an expired registration.
The case will be submitted to the Enotah Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith presented the department’s 2018 activity statistics during the first city council meeting of the new year, Jan. 28.
In 2018, 1,142 traffic stops were conducted by Hiawassee Police Department, with the most activity occurring in July. Smith relayed that the summer spike was due to the Hands-Free Georgia Act. As a result of the traffic stops, 681 tickets were issued, 362 written warnings were given, and hundreds of verbal warnings were extended.
Last year, the city police department made 118 arrests, 21 of which were misdemeanor drug violations, and 16 were cited as felony drug offenses. The remainder of the arrests amounted to 11 felonies and 70 misdemeanors. According to data, there were 98 fewer arrests made in 2018 than in 2017. Likewise, fewer drug arrests occurred in 2018 than the prior year. Of the 118 arrests, Smith informed that 80 of the arrests were the result of traffic stops, accounting for half of felony arrests.
A total of 335 reports were filed in 2018, consisting of 205 incident reports, 87 accident reports, 32 miscellaneous reports, five domestic violence cases, and two juvenile reports.
While the statistics show that criminal activity has decreased, Hiawassee Police Department remains vigilant in their duties, a reasonable explaination as to why there has been a reduction in arrests. “It’s good to see numbers drop in law enforcement,” Chief Smith said.
(Graphics courtesy of Hiawassee Police Department)
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