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Suspect in $1.2 million cocaine bust locked himself in car at Welcome Center, police say

Columbus police chief says $1 million cocaine bust is one of the largest by department

A monthlong investigation by the Columbus Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit and the Special Operations Unit has led to the seizure of $1 million worth of cocaine, $24,000 in cash, two vehicles and assorted guns, Police Chief Ricky Boren
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A monthlong investigation by the Columbus Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit and the Special Operations Unit has led to the seizure of $1 million worth of cocaine, $24,000 in cash, two vehicles and assorted guns, Police Chief Ricky Boren

A month-long investigation by the Columbus Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit and the Special Operations Unit has led to the Monday seizure of nearly $1.2 million worth of cocaine at the Welcome Center on Williams Road, plus $24,000 in cash, two vehicles and assorted guns, Police Chief Ricky Boren said Tuesday.

Two men are charged in connection with the ongoing investigation, the chief said. They were identified as Kenneth James, 49, of Phenix City and Marcus Terrell Marshall, 33, of Columbus. James is charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of drug-related objects while Marshall is also charged with trafficking, fleeing to elude police, obstruction of a police officer, a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, improper backing and possessing drug related objects. They are held in the Muscogee County Jail for a 2 p.m. Wednesday hearing in Recorder’s Court.

The chief said the investigation started Sept. 20 with a joint effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI to buy 10 kilograms of cocaine. At 3:30 p.m. Monday, the Special Operations Unit along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officials arrested two suspects at 1751 Williams Road.

At the scene, police said Marshall fled from police in a vehicle and obstructed officers by locking the doors. He also backed up and hit an occupied vehicle.

During the investigation, police seized 26.45 pounds of powdered cocaine valued at $1,179,360. It is one of the biggest drug busts at the department, Boren said. Police also seized a 2001 Mercedes Benz S-5Z, a 2011 BMW X5 and 24,000 in cash. The four guns included a semi-automatic assault-type rifle, 12-gauge shotgun and two pistols. The cash and guns were found in a house but no location was disclosed.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” the chief said. “It is not complete. What you are seeing now is a small part of what we hope to accomplish at a later time.”

Boren said the cocaine, which was found in a vehicle, was headed for the streets of Columbus and across the Chattahoochee River to Phenix City.

James and Marshall have previous federal convictions for trafficking in cocaine, police said.

The chief recognized the efforts of Capt. Charles Kennedy, Sgt. Andy Farmer and Cpl. Will Bassett of the Special Operations Unit along with GBI Special Agent Joe Chesnut of the West Georgia Regional Drug Task Force, Columbus offices of the DEA and FBI.

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