A pre-Memorial Day party at a residence in Thomson late Sunday led to 15 people being arrested on various charges, including the owner of the house who was described as "a bootlegger" by police.
Doreen Johnson, of 854 Clemmons St., was charged with operating a disorderly house, selling alcoholic beverages without a license, selling alcoholic beverages on a Sunday, operating a business without a city license and unlawful assembly, according to Thomson Police Department Officer Matt Massey.
Chief Joseph D. Nelson ordered the arrests.
The 59-year-old Mrs. Johnson said at the scene that she had sold beer, liquor, wine and other items from her home for the past three years.
"I did it so I could pay my bills," Mrs. Johnson told The McDuffie Mirror . "I used to sell clothing before I started selling beer, liquor and wine."
Mrs. Johnson, like the other people taken into custody by police, was transported to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center. The majority of those arrested had been released on bond by Monday afternoon.
Those charged with unlawful assembly -- a misdemeanor -- included:
Carl Leon Ivey, 36, of the 600 block of Ellington Avenue, Thomson;
Allison Caser, 43, of the 100 block of Evelyn Street, Harlem;
Jasper Lither Burnett, 27, of the 300 block of Walnut Street, Thomson;
Julian Anthony Williams, 23, of the 800 block of Old Washington Road, Thomson;
Ed Dean Wiley, 48, of the 800 block of Clemmons Street, Thomson;
Michael Anthony Johnson, 46, of the 500 block of Lee Drive, Thomson;
Barry Hill, 45, of the 300 block of Beargard Drive, Thomson;
Genntreial Ramo Allen, 34, of the 600 block of Anderson Avenue, Thomson;
Acquon C. Wilson, 37, of the 800 block of Clemments Street, Thomson;
Brian Deon Belton, 34, of the 1600 block of Wood Creek Drive, Thomson;
Casey B. Williams, 46, of the 800 block of C Street, Thomson;
Shannika L. Williams, 28, of the 300 block of Walnut Street, Thomson;
Essie Deloris Haynes, 54, of the 300 block of Walnut Street, Thomson; and
Ruth Mae Walker, 48, of the 500 block of Salem Road, Thomson.
"We've had a bunch of complaints from this particular residence ranging from shots fired, aggravated assault, vehicles blocking the access of the street to loud music," Chief Nelson said. "It's all stemmed from this residence. And we're not going to tolerate it any longer. "Good hard-working people living in that area can't even sleep for the parties that go on there. They haven't been given any respect. Those decent people are going to get some respect now, because we're going to enforce the laws and stop the kind of behavior that's been going on there at that house."
Thomson City Councilman John Smalley, who happened to hear about the raid, came to the scene and told reporters that he fully supports the action of Chief Nelson and his officers.
"It's been needed for a long while," Councilman Smalley said. "All this kind of behavior has been messing up people's lives. Behavior like what's been going on there makes that whole neighborhood a bad place. It attracts violence and the whole nine yards. I'm with our police department 100 percent in getting things like this cleaned up."