Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit, relates details of three separate raids conducted Thursday. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — The Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit executed a series of search warrants Thursday, netting a wealth of illegal drugs and gambling devices. Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the ADDU, said the first of the arrests occurred around 5 p.m. at 1306 Whitney Ave.
Estabian Carter, the only person present at the residence, was found to have more than 1,000 grams of marijuana, 3.6 grams of crack cocaine, 186 grams of powder cocaine and more than $1,200 in cash, officials say. Carter was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and trafficking cocaine and transported to the Dougherty County jail, Berry said.
The Whitney Avenue case was over in about one and a half hours, Berry said, after which the drug unit was preparing for their next stop at 428 B W. Society Ave. At that address, Berry said, the agents netted a quantity of drugs including methamphetamine; “spice,” or synthetic marijuana, cocaine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Also discovered at the residence was more than $800 in cash and a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun, Berry said. While one of the suspects managed to escape by jumping a 12-foot fence, 11 suspects were arrested, Berry said. Assistance was provided from the gang unit of the Albany Police Department and the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office in transporting the suspects to jail, Berry said. Officials said there are reasons to believe many of the suspects were members of the CME Rattlers, an Albany street gang.
Listed by the ADDU as charged in the West Society raid were Clarence York, Gratavious Carter, Tonley Thomas, Juwannis Austin, Lorenzo Davis, Mack Harper, Michael Atkins, Jesse Bronner, Gregory McKinney, Randall Taylor and Adoph Thompson.
All but Thompson, who was charged only with obstruction, were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of spice with intent to distribute, possession of meth, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a park, possession of spice with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of spice with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a park, possession of meth within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of meth within 1,000 feet of a park.
Austin was also charged with possession of oxycodone and McKinney also charged with possession hydrocodone, Berry said.
“Last night we were successful in catching a major portion what we consider gang members or affiliates,” Berry said during a news conference Friday afternoon.
The final stop for the ADDU Thursday was Big Daddy’s Boutique and Game Room, 509 S. Slappey Blvd., Berry said, where a single suspect, Petri Lawhorn, was charged and arrested for commercial gambling and keeping a place of gambling. Five commercial gambling machines were confiscated, Berry said. According to officials, while the machines are not in themselves illegal in Georgia, operators are not allowed to pay out winnings, in cash, alcohol, tobacco, firearms or lottery tickets.
“We had agents in there at least twice,” Berry said, “and they actually did win and were paid in cash.”
During the media conference, Berry took an opportunity to praise 13 out of the 15 stores tested covertly for alcohol sales to minors on January 24.
“My hat’s off to them,” Berry said. “That’s the lowest ratio we’d had in a long time.”
Listed as having sold to minors was Liberty Gas Station, 3900 Gillionville Road; Shell Gas Station, 3900 Gillionville Road and Oasis, 1301 S. Slappey Blvd.