Crime

Houston County's largest heroin, fentanyl seizures put an end to 2 major drug rings

Houston County sheriff's detectives have, for three years, worked quietly to dismantle some of Middle Georgia's largest drug dealing operations with help from other agencies including the FBI.

On Tuesday, it announced 14 people were arrested in connection with "the largest seizure of heroin and fentanyl in Houston County," Capt. Jon Holland said.

More than 13 pounds of fentanyl, 4 pounds of heroin, about 11 pounds of meth and more than 1,000 Xanax pills were seized during the investigation that began in late 2014, according to the news release.

The alleged leader of the drug trafficking organization, which was dismantled in June 2017, is no stranger to narcotics investigators.

Travis Cyntelle McKenzie, who also goes by the nickname "Showtime," was convicted in 2002 of trafficking more than $10,000 worth of cocaine in Houston County, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website. His accomplice in the 2002 case, 39-year-old Clarence Bogan, who goes by the nickname "Bush," also was arrested in the June 2017 bust.

Although the bust happened last year, authorities said they could not talk about it until now.

Other people arrested, most of them from Warner Robins, include: Latray Cyntelle McKenzie, 19; Tamika Lashawn Hickey, 35; Kaelin Michael Vernett, 24; Shantae Moneka Howard, 37; Jonathan Haslem, 37; Herschel Alfred Haslem, 35; Thomas Jeffrey Locke, 52, of Reynolds; Esha Robert Hill, 28, and Justin Tremaine High, 31.

Authorities also arrested three women who live outside Middle Georgia for allegedly transporting the drugs for the group. The women were identified in the news release as Magali Garcia, 27, of Austell; Sanjuana Rendon Herrera, 27, of Marietta, and 28-year-old Darlene Mary Correa-Olibera.

In a more recent drug trafficking bust involving a separate group, 11 people were arrested and more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine were seized.

The organization, allegedly led by 40-year-old Joshua Janouski, of Perry, included mostly Warner Robins residents.

Those arrested in the bust were: Courtney Michelle Winn, 24; Roy Chester Wilburn Jr., 55; Cassie Nichole Mullis, 34, of Hawkinsville; Jason Allen Sinyard, 44, of Perry; Natalie Odell Sinyard, 46, of Perry; Donald Arthur Chapman, 57, of Fort Valley; Darlene Carole Coffee, 61, of Perry; Edward Jay Lange, 61, of Macon; Jeffrey Buchannan Paulk, 49, and Lori Anne Willis, 57.

"Although they don't always hear what we're doing while we're doing it, because of the nature of the work that we do, we do want the public to know we're out there working, fighting drugs every day," Holland said.

Holland declined to say where the drugs might have originated and where they were being trafficked. He also would not say whether the drug busts were in any way related to the outbreak of overdoses in the Middle Georgia area in June 2017.

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