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Cocaine bust called county 's biggest

WARRENTON, Ga. -- A total of 11 kilos of cocaine, valued at $1.2 million, was seized by authorities after a traffic stop on Interstate 20 in Warren County late on the night of Jan. 26.

It is being called the biggest discovery of illegal narcotics in the county's history.

Deputy Sammy Purvis of the Warren County Sheriff's Office said at least one person has been arrested and charged in connection with the ongoing investigation. The deputy identified him as Cleveland Hall, 28, of College Park, Ga.

Mr. Hall was charged with trafficking in cocaine and obstruction of a law enforcement officer, Deputy Purvis said. He was being held at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson.

The large quantity of cocaine was found after deputies discovered a hidden compartment between the back seat and trunk of a 2003 Audi, Deputy Purvis said.

Hall had been stopped by Deputy Trevor Franklin while traveling along I-20 about 10:30 p.m. He was pulled over at the 164-mile post for what was described as an "equipment violation."

When Deputy Franklin asked Mr. Hall for his license, the suspect refused, and the deputy requested assistance from fellow Deputy Joey Akers and his K-9 partner, Neeka, authorities said.

The drug-sniffing dog's reaction led to a search of the car by deputies and the discovery of the cocaine.

Deputy Purvis, a supervisory deputy, said Mr. Hall was placed under arrest after he refused to give deputies the keys to the car.

Because of traffic and weather conditions, the car was taken to the Warren County Sheriff's Office in Warrenton, where the search and seizure of the cocaine was made, authorities said.

"It was an amazing job on the part of these highly professionally trained deputies to get this amount of drugs off the streets," said District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders, whose office provided funds for the training and purchase of the drug-sniffing dog. "Without that dog, these drugs probably would never have been found," he said.

Authorities had not determined where the shipment of drugs originated or what its destination was.

Authorities also confiscated a little more than $2,100, Deputy Purvis said.

Web posted on Thursday, February 03, 2011

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