Crack cocaine with more than $33,000 in street value was taken during an arrest at 2215 Hubert Ave. Thursday. According to Major Bill Berry at the Albany/Dougherty Drug Unit, the crack was in the process of being "cooked" and was hours from being distributed.
ALBANY — A two-month investigation by the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit resulted in the arrest of three individuals Thursday for allegedly manufacturing crack cocaine.
According to drug unit commander Maj. Bill Berry, the investigation was one of the biggest busts in years, yielding smokeable crack cocaine with a street value of more that $33,000.
Arrested about 3 p.m. Thursday were Ladele Edward Barney, 35, and Shawn Michael Keith, 39, at 2215 Hubert Ave. Venessa Rashaun Thomas, 24, who was not present at the initial bust, was arrested later the same day when she returned to the residence.
Seized in the raid were 267.1 grams of crack cocaine, various paraphernalia used to cook or process the powdered cocaine to the more potent form, and a 9mm automatic pistol found underneath a seat cushion. Berry said the suspects were involved with cooking the powdered cocaine when the raid began, and that the finished product was literally hours from distribution into the area.
According to Berry, the alleged offenders had gathered the crack cocaine cookies and were frantically breaking them with their hands, trying to disperse the evidence into bushes around the residence. Barney was tased during the raid.
Berry said seven pit bull terrier-type dogs and two puppies being kept at the residence were seized by animal control. Berry said that marks on the animals were indicative they had been used in fights and further investigations will be made in that regard.
All three suspects were charged with felony trafficking in cocaine, felony manufacturing of cocaine and possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school.
Additional charges were levied against Barney and Keith, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during commission of a certain crime and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
The decision to make the bust resulted from a tip from a community member, Berry said.
with information that the suspects had the illegal substance in the residence and were processing it.
“It was a ‘now’s the time’ kind of tip,” Berry said. “They weren’t strangers to us. We knew what they were doing, but tips like that one can make a real positive difference.”