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Seven arrested in drug sweep

Local, state and federal law enforcement authorities executed three search warrants and arrested seven persons on drug charges during raids conducted on Tuesday in McDuffie County, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

The arrests stemmed from a multi-law enforcement agency investigation into illegal drug activity in McDuffie and Columbia counties, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation. The source, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said the probe had been ongoing for several months and that it involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and sheriff's departments in McDuffie, Columbia and Richmond counties.

McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said seven drug arrests were made in three different raids on residences where law enforcement officers used search warrants. He indicated that a quantity of illegal drugs, an undisclosed amount of cash and one car was seized during those raids.

Sheriff Marshall identified those arrested as: Christopher Lewis, Marktiques Burnett, Antonio Ricco Audrey, Mario Smith and Tyrone Burnett, all believed to be from the Thomson area. Two other suspects also were arrested, but their names were not immediately available. The suspects were taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center where they remained on Tuesday night, awaiting bond hearings.

The first search warrant to be served in McDuffie County took place at 4488 Dorsey Drive in Dearing, Sheriff Marshall said. Authorities found no one home during the morning raid, but did seize a quantity of drugs. A Chevrolet Caprice also was seized and is believed to have been used in drug trafficking operations, according to the sheriff.

A second search warrant was executed at an address on Gay Circle near Dearing. There, authorities arrested Mr. Lewis, Mr. Marktiques Burnett and Mr. Audrey, Sheriff Marshall said.

The other two suspects, Mr. Smith and Mr. Tyrone Burnett, were taken into custody at a residence on Hobbs Mill Road, he added.

In a drug raid at 245 Shady Grove Drive in Harlem, a 25-year-old Columbia County man was arrested, according to Columbia County Sheriff's Department Staff Sgt. Trip Penn said.

He identified the suspect as Derrick Boyd, who lived at that residence. Mr. Boyd was charged with numerous felony drug violations, Sgt. Penn said. Authorities seized a quantity of prescription drugs and some crack cocaine, $5,000 in cash, four guns and two cars.

The case remains under investigation and there could be additional arrests.

WTHO News Director Donna Branch contributed to this article.

Web posted on Thursday, June 18, 2009

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