WARNER ROBINS -- Authorities arrested eight people and seized thousands of dollars worth of drugs and property in connection with a major narcotics, gambling and dog fighting operation in Houston County.
Alleged drug dealer Andrew Martin Holiday, 40, of Kathleen, and seven others, including an Eastman Regional Youth Detention Center officer, were arrested Jan. 10 as part of a three-month long investigation by the Houston County Sheriffs Office, Warner Robins Police Department and Houston County District Attorneys Office. The agencies announced the arrests Wednesday.
Authorities seized drugs, cash, weapons, vehicles and pit bulls involved in the operation. Much of what was seized was displayed at a joint news conference at the sheriffs office off Carl Vinson Parkway.
Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton, along with Warner Robins police Chief Brett Evans and others, lauded the cooperation among agencies within the county as being instrumental to busting up such illicit operations that cross jurisdictions.
By working together, I feel we can keep crime down in our county, Talton said.
Holiday was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Juvenile corrections officer Frank James Fountain, 37, of Kathleen, was charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of a firearm during a crime.
The marijuana was allegedly grown at Fountains 201 Milton Court home, with much of the drug trafficking in the Kathleen area, Houston County sheriffs Capt. Jon Holland said. Authorities found no evidence indicating Fountain may have been funneling drugs into the Regional Youth Detention Center, Holland said after the news conference.
However, the head of the Department of Juvenile Justice ordered an internal affairs investigation into all contraband cases reported at the Eastman RYDC during the last two years to search for any possible traces of involvement by Fountain, a department news release stated.
Fountain was let go Wednesday, spokesman Jim Shuler stated in an e-mail.
Others arrested and their charges include David Benjamin Baker, 31, of Kathleen, trafficking in methamphetamine; Brittney Marie Baldwin, 22, of Centerville, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Heather Michelle Moore, 27, of Centerville, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Also arrested were Eric Dewayne McIntyre, 36, of Byron, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Johnathan Richard Whiddon, 24, of Byron, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs and drugs not kept in original container; and Alonzo Laverne Wheeler, 40, of Bonaire, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of marijuana.
All were being held in the Houston County jail without bond.
District Attorney George Hartwig said those arrested are expected to go before a grand jury within 60 to 90 days for indictment. Additional arrests are expected, Holland said.
Warner Robins police Capt. Chris Rooks described a collection of marijuana plants, rifles, shotguns, handguns, cash, crystal meth and other forms of methamphetamine, prescription drugs and marijuana ready for resale as the alleged drug dealers inventory. Much of the collection was spread out along and near a long table at the news conference.
The inventory was what was what was on hand the day of the raids, Rooks said. Had authorities been able to gather a month of illicit inventory, it likely would have filled the large conference room in which the news conference was held, Rooks said.
Heres a look at the inventory seized by authorities: $16,800 street value of six ounces of methamphetamine; $840 street value of one-fourth of an ounce of cocaine; and $56,000 street value of about 28 marijuana plants in varied stages of development.
Also seized was $61,205 in cash; 11 vehicles; 13 four-wheelers; one three-wheeler; 15 rifles and shotguns; three handguns; nine dirt motorcycles, including one that was reported stolen; and assorted computer and stereo equipment.
Also confiscated were dog fighting training equipment and a total of 13 dogs, which Warner Robins police Capt. Brenda Parks-Mathern said are not adoptable. Warner Robins Animal Control is now in the process of petitioning the court for ownership of the pit bulls, she said.
Holland declined to elaborate on the dog fighting aspect of the operation, noting that remains under investigation.
Other items seized included three air compressors, one pressure washer, a portable heater, chrome rims and tires, a welder, four flat screen televisions and assorted cell phones and hand tools.
The Houston County Sheriffs Response Team, which includes Perry and Centerville police officers, and the Warner Robins police Special Weapons and Tactics team conducted the raids at the following locations in addition to the 201 Milton Court address: 103 Christopher Lane, Centerville; 105 Enlish Drive, Bonaire; 300 Milton Court, Kathleen; 303 W. Houston Drive, Kathleen; 256 Holiday Circle, Kathleen; and 302 W. Houston Drive, Kathleen.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.