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Indictments likely to be handed down

Multi-count indictments are expected to be handed down by a federal grand jury against some McDuffie County residents who were taken into custody last week by local, state and federal authorities, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

Although the names have not been released, indictments, including for criminal conspiracy, are forthcoming, a source close to the probe has told the newspaper.

In typical federal cases within the U.S. Southern District of Georgia, indictments are returned against defendants by grand juries that meet in Savannah.

Only two of the people taken into custody on Monday, May 24, were charged. They are:

Kevin Gaines, 29, of the 1000 block of Old Wrightsboro Road, Thomson, theft by receiving stolen property and criminal use of an article with an altered identification number; and

Robert Belton, 32, of the 1600 block of Wood Creek Drive, Thomson, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The names and charges of those suspects came from records filed at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center, where both men are being held in jail.

Mr. Gaines and Mr. Belton were taken to the local jail following simultaneous raids on eight different residences that began early last Monday and had concluded before mid-morning.

The raids were conducted by members of the CSRA Safe Streets Task Force -- a special group of law enforcement officers from different agencies, including local and state, according to Anthony Russo, who serves as supervisory special agent of the FBI field office in Augusta.

The agencies involved in last week's round-up of suspects -- most of whom were set free after being on "investigative hold" for several hours -- included: deputies and SWAT team members from McDuffie, Columbia and Richmond counties, as well as special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Georgia State Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. Officers with the Thomson Police Department also participated in last week's round-up of suspected criminals.

Web posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010

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