Nearly 30 local and state law enforcement officers representing five agencies converged on McDuffie County Friday with at least two main goals in mind: to arrest several drug suspects and to catch traffic violators.
One of those arrests included a man wanted on an outstanding warrant for burglary - who was taken into custody at one of several roadblocks that were set up by authorities near Dearing, as well as at two locations inside the city limits of Thomson.
At one of the roadblocks set up at the intersection of Forrest Clary Drive and Salem Road, authorities became involved in a foot-chase when a man jumped from a pickup truck and attempted to flee into nearby woods.
The man was identified as Brian Christopher Cushman, 37, who was charged with a misdemeanor offense of obstruction on a law enforcement officer, Violation of the Georgia Open Container Law and allowing an unlicensed person to drive, according to records filed at Thomson Police headquarters.
The joint operation, which began unfolding at 6:40 a.m., lasted until shortly after noon, according to McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall.
Sheriff Marshall termed the nearly six-hour long operation "very effective" and believes it will reduce various crimes in the county for a while.
"We've always enjoyed good cooperation between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia State Patrol, the Thomson Police Department and the Richmond County Sheriff's Department," Sheriff Marshall told The McDuffie Mirror. "This was just another one of those occasions where we all worked well together."
At least five of the warrants involved persons being sought for drug buys from undercover agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during a three-month period between February and April, according to Pat Morgan, assistant special agent in-charge of the GBI Region 7 office in Thomson. By noon, two of those drug suspects had been officially charged - one taken into custody at a residence and the other was served with a warrant while in jail on another charge.
The idea to work a coordinated operation between various law enforcement agencies was the brainchild of Gary Nicholson, special agent in-charge of the local GBI office.
McDuffie County is the second county within the local GBI field office's region to have been a part of such an operation, Agent Nicholson said. The first county was Burke County, where authorities termed such an operation "very successful."
More of these types of operations are planned for the future.
"We're not through; there's going to be more of these to come in various counties where we work," Agent Nicholson said.