WARRENTON, Ga. - Separate traffic stops along Interstate 20 in Warren County late Thursday night and Friday morning resulted in the discovery of more than 42 pounds of marijuana, reportedly worth an estimated $50,000, according to authorities. One of the finds has been labeled the biggest traffic-related drug seizure in Warren County history.
In both cases, the drivers of the cars stopped were charged with drug violations and tag light violations, said Warren County Sheriff's Department Deputy Joey Akers. Deputy Akers is a former officer with the Warrenton Police Department and has been a deputy less than a year.
The largest case was made shortly after 3:30 a.m. last Friday in the eastbound lane of I-20 near the Warren-McDuffie county line. Deputy Akers said after stopping the 1999 Dodge Intrepid that he walked up to the car and informed the driver that his tag light was out. The deputy said the driver, identified as John Lewis Law, 34, of Decatur, began acting "nervous" when he asked him if there was anything in the car that he should know about.
Deputy Akers said he then decided to radio for a K-9 unit to come to the scene. When Officer J.J. Cooper of the Warrenton Police Department and his dog, "Rosco," the dog "almost immediately" alerted on three locations of the car - the trunk, passenger door and driver's door, Deputy Akers said. That then gave lawmen the right to search the car - two large bundles of marijuana being discovered in the trunk.
Both of the bundles were wrapped in green cellophane and had a piece of duct tape around them. One of the bundles had been opened.
Deputy Sammy Purvis said the marijuana, worth about $50,000, was seized and Mr. Law taken into custody without incident. Mr. Law continued to be held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson on Monday, awaiting bond to be set on a charge of felony count of trafficking in marijuana.
The marijuana was taken to an undisclosed location for safekeeping as evidence in the case, Deputy Purvis said.
Deputy Akers said Mr. Law told him that he was headed to a residence on Bel Air Road in Evans "to deliver some very important papers." Since the arrest involved such a large quantity of drugs, Warren County authorities notified the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In an unrelated case, Deputy Akers made an earlier traffic stop about 11:30 p.m. last Thursday night, which resulted in the arrest of a 28-year-old Hephzibah man on drug charges.
Deputy Akers said he placed Stephen Michael Wright under arrest after stopping his Dodge Magnum for a tag light violation. The traffic stop was made on I-20 in the eastbound lane near the 161 mile marker.
"While talking with the driver, I detected an odor of marijuana," Deputy Akers said. A check of Mr. Wright's driver's license revealed that his license had been suspended for failure to pay child support, but that he had not been served. While being searched, two clear plastic bags of a green leafy substance, later field tested positive for marijuana, were found.
Mr. Wright was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act for possession of marijuana and officially served notice of his license being in suspension. A warning was issued on the tag light violation, Deputy Akers said. He was taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson.