Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit waits outside BioBuzz on North Slappey as his agents search the premises. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Agents of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit served search warrants on two “alternative culture” businesses Friday morning, looking for illegal synthetic marijuana as well as incriminating documents, police officials said.
Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the ADDU, said the raid on Genesis Emporium, 310 S. Slappey Blvd., was mostly to seize possible “spice,” or synthetic marijuana, while the simultaneous search of BioBuzz, 612 N. Slappey Blvd., was primarily to search for incriminating documents connected with the contraband.
“That paper trail could show us where the stuff is coming from, who paid for it, where the money is coming from and who’s involved,” Berry said.
While conducting the drug search at Genesis Emporium, the agents decided to search the business next door, The Wash House, 312 S. Slappey Blvd., Berry said. As the agents went through the building they encountered a “large warehouse” connected to the premises which required an additional warrant, Berry said.
Officials say undercover drug agents have been purchasing the illegal substances from Genesis Emporium and BioBuzz for “quite a while,” before securing the search warrants. Three people have been arrested in connection with the spice sales and other crimes, Berry said, with additional arrest warrants possible.
Stephen Bradford, owner of the three search locations, was arrested after the Wash House search and charged with possession of a controlled substance (spice) with intend to distribute, Berry said.
Sarah Yarborough, 26, was arrested and charged with sale of a controlled substance (spice), possession of a controlled substance (spice) with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance (spice) within 1,000 feet of a park and possession of a controlled substance (spice) within 1,000 feet of a school, Berry said
Noel Franklin Gardner, 57, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance (spice), possession of drug-related objects and possession of a firearm during the commission of a certain crime, Berry said.
During the two traffic stops where Yarborough and Franklin were detained, a total of $6,997 in cash was recovered, Berry said.
The raid was not the first for BioBuzz. In October of 2011 agents found 10 pounds of illegal marijuana substitute and arrested owner Stephen Bradford on charges of felony drug possession. During the 2011 raid agents also seized quantities of “bath salts,” illegal both in Georgia and nationally.