A multi-jurisdictional team of drug enforcement officers delivered a huge blow Wednesday to a local drug trafficking organization when they seized approximately $400,000 in cocaine as well as other contraband from a Columbus residence and storage facility.
The operation, headed by the Metro Narcotics Task Force, was conducted with the assistance of the regional office of the Columbus Drug Enforcement Administration, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, Russell County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Police Department and Phenix City Police Department.
Metro Narcotics Task Force Special Agent in Charge Rick Stinson said Thursday during a 10:30 a.m. news conference that eight or nine agents executed search warrants at 976 Patricia Drive and 1125 Floyd Road.
“This was in connection to a long-term drug investigation that was being conducted,” Stinson said. “The group that was involved with this were pretty widely known by all the agencies. This drug investigation has shown that this drug trafficking organization was distributing drugs in all five of those counties. They’ve been targets for a good period. All these agencies have been working well together and we’ve been able to share information which is what led to the arrests.”
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A total of four people were arrested at the Patricia Drive residence.
Christopher Raines, also known as “Binky,” 38, of 3090 Allenville Drive, Atlanta was charged with two counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and theft by receiving stolen property (a firearm) in another state.
Donterrious Mays, 27, of 976 Patricia Drive, Columbus, was charged with two counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, and theft by receiving stolen property (firearm) in another state.
Jackie Wilson, 24, of Talbotton, Ga., was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and theft by receiving stolen property (firearm) in another state.
Gwendolyn Bradley, 51, of 615 Parkchester Drive, Columbus, was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana, violation of the Georgia controlled substance act, schedule two cocaine and theft by receiving stolen property (firearm) in another state.
Agents first focussed their efforts on the Patricia Drive address.
“Basically the house we searched on Patricia Drive was a location that through surveillance and other investigation had all the appearance of maybe a stash house for this organization,” Stinson said. “So we began investigating that house. (Raines) is a target that as a matter of fact has been arrested in the past. This arrested suspected has been a target for us as an identified drug trafficker for well over a couple of years.”
Mays was the first person agents encountered when they arrived at the residence. He was outside in the yard.
“The person that was on the outside, once he saw us pulling in, did attempt to get into the house, which he was not successful,” Stinson said.
Inside, authorities discovered two loaded guns. A 12-gauge Mossberg shot gun was spotted under the couch within arms reach of one of the suspects, Stinson said. The other weapon, a .30 caliber mini Ruger that had been reported stolen from Lee County, was recovered from a bedroom.
“Fortunately no one was in that room and didn’t get a chance to get to it,” Stinson said.
In addition to the guns, agents seized a large stash of cash, a collection of scales, bottles and other cooking apparatus believed to be used to cook powder cocaine down into crack cocaine, small, plastic bags each containing about 9 ounces of cocaine, 18 grams of marijuana and paperwork indicating the suspects kept a rented storage facility on Floyd Road.
“In the storage unit is where the bulk of the drugs were found,” Stinson said. “Once we executed the search warrant on the storage unit a little over three kilos were found in the storage unit along with the larger bag of money.”
In total, the Metro Narcotics Task Force seized approximately $30,000 in cash, and approximately $400,000 in cocaine during the bust.
“Basically what we have here is we felt like we’ve dismantled a large cocaine distribution organization in not only Columbus but in Muscogee, Russell, Harris and in Talbot and Taylor Counties,” Stinson said.
Though the sergeant wouldn’t reveal where the powdered cocaine came from he did say it originated outside the areas in which agents believe it was slated to be sold. The ongoing investigation has been turned over to the DEA, Stinson said. More arrests are expected.
“We’re not under any illusion that we have now stopped the drugs in Columbus, but we have put a good-sized dent in it and that’s the best way to work drug organization. You hurt them as much as you can, it disrupts it. I know we’re not going to have magic wand to stop it. If we can put as much pressure as we can on these groups and they go elsewhere then to me that’s somewhat of a victory for our area.”