Six suspected pot dealers arrested in two days
by Wes Mayer
Five people suspected of distributing marijuana in Newnan were arrested Thursday after Coweta County deputies serving an arrest warrant discovered a strong odor of marijuana inside a home.
Another was arrested Wednesday when investigators saw a man making suspected transactions at the Rush Foods convenience store on Dodson Street.
Around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Unit arrived at the home of 43 Neal St. with an arrest warrant for Larry Donnell Dorsey Jr., 28, charged with a violation of probation, said Sgt. Mark Cooper with the Newnan Police Department’s Drug Task Force. There, deputies spoke to the homeowner, Nina Courtlandt Arnold, 30, who said Dorsey was home and would surrender.
Inside, while taking Dorsey into custody, deputies found three other men, Ricardo Vanshtez Key, 20, Cuba Bernard Sinkfield Jr., 21, and Reginald Lester Washington, 22. Washington also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Cooper said. While identifying everyone, deputies detected a strong odor of both raw and burnt marijuana, and they noticed a number of boxes containing clear plastic baggies inside the residence. Believing marijuana was inside the home, deputies contacted investigators with the Newnan Drug Task Force.
Newnan investigators arrived at the home around 1 p.m. with a search warrant, Cooper said. In one room, they discovered a lunch box containing 15 individually wrapped baggies of marijuana — weighing more than six ounces — and two .380-caliber handguns. In another room, underneath a mattress, they found another plastic bag which contained four baggies — three baggies with approximately 0.7 ounces of marijuana each, and the fourth with 15 individually wrapped baggies of marijuana. They also found a crystallized substance believed to be counterfeit “Molly,” Cooper said, which is similar to Ecstasy.
Overall, investigators found close to seven ounces of marijuana, Cooper said. They seized the marijuana, the handguns, some electronics believed to be used in drug transactions and a large amount of money. All five people in the home, Arnold, Dorsey, Key, Sinkfield and Washington, were believed to be working together to distribute the marijuana, so they were all charged with the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
On Wednesday, using Newnan’s close-circuit cameras mounted at the nearby intersection, investigators with the Newnan Drug Task Force observed a man make some suspicious hand-to-hand exchanges at the Rush Foods convenience store on Dodson Street, Cooper said. The man, later identified as Lorenzo Jerome Barner, 32, appeared to be taking something out and putting it back in a trash can on the property.
Investigators gathered a team of five to go arrest Barner, Cooper said, but when they arrived, Barner took off running toward Martin Luther King Drive. Investigators pursued on foot. During the chase, Barner attempted to throw some wadded up newspaper in the trash can but missed. Within 100 yards, investigators caught up to Barner and took him into custody.
Once Barner was in custody, investigators returned to the trash can and found the wadded-up newspaper. Wrapped inside, they found two bags — one with three yellow plastic baggies containing marijuana and the other with eight clear plastic baggies containing marijuana.
The total weight of the marijuana was less than an ounce, Cooper said. But due to investigators’ observations and the packaging, Barner was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He was also charged with obstruction for attempting to flee officers on foot, and he was transported to the Coweta County Jail.