VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - Sheriff’s deputies, along with state and federal agents, swept through Vidalia neighborhoods Wednesday morning.
Officials arrested suspects they believe are part of organized drug gangs.
Deputies and other agents started the sweeps around 10 a.m., but organizers say they’ve been planning it for more than a year. Agents from FBI, GBI, ATF, and others swarmed through Ramonia Apartments looking for suspects and searching apartments that they believe local gangs have used to hide drugs and guns. They raided eight different spots at once.
Investigators seized around 40 ounces of suspected crack/cocaine, 74 ounces of ecstasy, 13.5 ounces of methamphetamine, 21 ounces of xanax, 3.5 ounces of heroin, six pints of codeine, and 130 ounces of marijuana. They also recovered seven handguns, five rifles, and one shotgun, along with multiple high capacity magazines and numerous rounds of rifle ammunition. Several vehicles, including a Dodge 3500 truck, a Maserati, and a Bentley.
Jacqueline Jacobs lives just a few blocks away.
WTOC: “How soon did you start hearing about this happening this morning?”
Jacobs: “In about five minutes. Everybody was talking about them being in Ramonia Park and everywhere else.”
The Toombs County sheriff says he’s coordinated with the state and federal agents to fight gang crime in the community.
“When you start having drive-by shootings and people getting shot, and we start seeing gang activity, we knew we had a problem,” Sheriff Alvie Kight said. “You could have as many as three or four, or you could have 25-30. There’s no particular number. Anybody can form a gang.”
On Thompson Street, agents kicked in the door of a home. the house didn’t have electricity, but teams spent the morning processing the evidence they found inside. Prosecutors say the agencies involved have built the case for months.
“It takes a long time, a lot of coordination between different agencies, between the federal authorities, the GBI and Toombs County Sheriff’s Office,” said District Attorney, Hayward Altman.
Altman says they’ll take any new arrests or new charges in front of a called grand jury in a few days to keep suspects from getting back out on the streets. Jacobs and others are glad to see this come.
“That’s a step in the right direction! We need more of the police and security too, riding through our area and checking things out,” Jacobs said.
Officials say 10 warrants were successfully executed, with an eleventh in Clayton County, and 11 people were arrested.
- Stacy Tobler
- Andre Jackson
- Ozell Johnson, Jr.
- Deltinaud Toussaint
- Alonzo Roberts
- Laporshia Canty
- Frederick Cooper
- Roderick Johnson
- Lanard Wallace
- Joseph Long
- Ahbinah Smith
The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated. Anyone with information pertaining to this case is encouraged to contact the GBI Southeastern Regional Drug Enforcement Office in Metter at 912.685.5345.