Five arrested in drug bust

By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com Five Newnan men face various drug violations, including sale and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute/sell and possession with intention to distribute Ecstasy and the prescription drug Oxycodone. They were arrested Friday, according to Sgt. Pat Lyons of the Newnan-Coweta Crime Suppression Unit.
"We are glad we made these arrests and want to thank the citizens who made us aware of the activity by calling the drug hot line," Lyons said. "This is a good example of what we can do when citizens and law enforcement work together." The CSU became aware of a possible problem when citizen tips to the drug hot line -- 770-253-2324 -- notified CSU officers of unusually heavy traffic at a residence on Clark Hill Road, a dirt road near the intersection of Welcome Road and the Hwy. 34 Bypass. "That's relatively small street with only a few houses," Lyons said. "The neighbors noticed a lot more traffic than usual at one residence and called us." CSU members suspected drug activity and began surveillance of the residence on Christmas Eve, 2009. Investigators noticed suspicious traffic activity several times, and finally made their move Friday after observing unusually heavy traffic at the home in question, which was rented by Garet Millard Henderson, 24, of Newnan. On Jan. 22, spotters observed Henderson leaving the residence and notified Lt. Mark Fenninger, of the CSU. Fenninger, driving a marked sheriff's patrol car, followed as Henderson drove to the parking lot of the Marathon gas station and convenience store on Hwy. 34 west, where it was believed several drug transactions had been made. Fenninger observed Henderson's truck pull into the lot and park beside another vehicle. When the occupant of the second vehicle, later identified as Christian Andrew Pyritz, 21, of Newnan, spotted Fenninger's patrol car, he left his vehicle, entered the store and attempted to hide. "We watched the store tapes and you could see where he went inside and watched and tried to hide," said investigator Victor McPhie of the CSU. Henderson was questioned in the parking lot by Fenninger. During the questioning Fenninger found a small amount of marijuana on Henderson's person and then searched Henderson's truck, where Fenninger found what Lyons described as a "felony amount" of marijuana. At that point, Henderson was detained along with two passengers in his truck, identified as Matthew Aaron Jones, 22, of Newnan and Taylor Amedee Cormier, 22, of Newnan. Henderson, Jones and Cormier all had large amounts of cash on their person, Lyons said. At that time, Pyritz was also detained and said he did not know who Henderson was. By then, Henderson had told investigators he had come to the store to sell Pyritz one ounce of marijuana. At that time, Henderson, Jones, Cormier and Pyritz were all charged with conspiracy to sell/purchase marijuana. Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Clark Hill Road residence, where they found a fifth man, Joel Ray Brooks, who lived in the home. Brooks was later arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. A search of the residence produced 2.5 pounds of marijuana, valued by Lyons at "several thousand dollars." Investigators also found a large quantity of the prescription drug Oxycodone and a large quantity of the drug Ecstasy. The pills were collectively valued in the thousands of dollars, according to Lyons. A large amount of cash was also found on the premises, as well as a pistol and a rifle, Lyons said. Investigators also found digital scales, small baggies and other items used in the sale and distribution of drugs. "They had everything they needed to do business," Lyons said. Investigators determined that Henderson was the sole owner of the Oxycodone and he was charged with possession of a schedule two drug with intent to sell/distribute. It was determined that Henderson and Cormier both owned the Ecstasy and both were charged with possession of a schedule one drug with intent to sell/distribute. In total, Henderson was charged with a tag light violation, which was cause for the initial stop; possession of marijuana, conspiracy to sell/purchase marijuana, possession of a schedule 2 drug with intent to sell/distribute and possession of a schedule one drug with intent to sell/distribute. Cormier was charged with conspiracy to sell marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell/distribute and possession of a schedule one drug with intent to sell/distribute. Jones was charged with conspiracy to sell marijuana and possession of marijuana with intention to sell/distribute. Pyritz was charged with conspiracy to purchase or sell marijuana and Brooks was charged with possession of marijuana with intention to distribute/sell. Lyon stressed that the operation would not have been successful or even begun without citizen involvement. "The citizens are the ones who made this happen when they called in a tip," Lyons said. "We urge everyone who sees what might be a suspicious activity to call and report it. People know what's normal and they know when something isn't right. If they're suspicious they can always call and we'll check it out."

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