Meth bust defendants sentenced

By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com Eighteen months after the first bust was made, court cases have been resolved against 44 men and women involved in the largest methamphetamine operation ever seen in Coweta County. That is according to Ray Mayer, assistant district attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, lead prosecutor in the cases.
"The District Attorney's Office is pleased with the outcome of the case," Mayer said. "A number of significant meth dealers are off the streets and on probation, and cooperation ought to keep a number of the others from continuing to use meth. "Furthermore, other cases have been made as a result of the cooperation in this case and the Crime Suppression Unit has a better picture of who else in Coweta sells or uses meth. The District Attorney's Office commends the CSU, particularly Sgt. Pat Lyons, for their hard work in achieving this success," he said. All but one of the 44 people people indicted in September 2009 for conspiracy to commit trafficking in methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit sale of methamphetamine had resolved their cases prior to Feb. 8. "They all just rolled over and ratted each other out, so we wound up with a lot of guilty pleas," Mayer sad. On Monday, rather than face a judge and jury, the final defendant, Adam Arrington, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Coweta Superior Court Judge Jack Kirby to 10 years in prison to serve 8 with the balance on probation. "It felt great to see this case come to a conclusion," Mayer said. "We're very pleased with the outcome." The huge case began to come together in September 2008, when Robert Lee ("Lee") Arrington Jr., the self-proclaimed biggest meth dealer in Coweta County, was taken down. Arrington and his girlfriend, Missy Watkins, were busted on Sept. 26, 2008, after a Coweta County Sheriff's Office deputy accompanying Department of Family and Children Services workers to take the couple's child from their custody saw suspected meth and drug paraphernalia. A search warrant produced meth despite Arrington's attempt to flush the evidence down the toilet. Arrington made bond on the charges and authorities continued to monitor his whereabouts and actions. Investigators knew Arrington had moved to Meriwether County and that he was continuing to supply a large amount of meth to Coweta. The plan paid off on Feb. 20, 2009, when investigators observed what they believed to be a large drug transaction take place in the parking lot of the Home Deport store in Newnan Pavilion on Hwy. 34 east. Investigators made eight arrests and seized approximately $7,500 in cash during the raid. Arrington and Watkins were charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Matthew Gordon Duncan, 29, of Newnan, and his brother, 36-year-old Travis Bryan Duncan, were charged with conspiracy to traffic meth, possession of meth and possession of a schedule IV narcotic. Craig Harrison Shelton, 35, and 36-year-old Cynthia Louanne Ford, both of Newnan, were charged with conspiracy to traffic meth, possession of meth and possession of a Schedule IV narcotic. A husband and wife -- Mickey Shane Presley, 38, and Frances Katherine Presley, 36 -- were both charged with conspiracy to traffic meth. Arrington, Watkins and Shane and Kathy Presley confessed and gave detailed information on other defendants. Other defendants did the same. "Everybody was looking to make a deal," Mayer said. Plea deals were only offered in instances where evidence presented by a single witness was corroborated by another so that sentences were not based on the word of a single defendant or witness. Of the 44 indicted, 25 pleaded guilty to various charges, Mayer said. The ringleader of the operation, Lee Arrington, was sentenced to 15 to serve 10; Arrington's girlfriend, Missy Watkins, was sentenced to 10 years to serve 3 years, followed by 12 months inpatient rehab. Arrington and Watkins were both also charged with possession of methamphetamine. In all there were 44 defendants. - Other defendants sentenced in meth case According to Ray Mayer, assistant district attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit, other guilty pleas and sentences resulting from the September 2009 indictment of 44 persons charged in connection with operating a Coweta County methamphetamine operation include: Shane Presley to 12 years to serve 7 years; Kathy Presley to 10 years to serve 1 year, followed by 12 months inpatient rehab; Cynthia Louanne ("Cindy") Ford to 10 years to serve 1 year, followed by 12 months inpatient rehab; Matthew Gordon ("Matt") Duncan to 10 to serve 2; Travis Bryan ("Bryan") Duncan to 5 years probation (all probated sentences involving substantial fines); Harlan Orlando ("OJ") Jackson to 10 to serve 7, together with a subsequent trafficking charge he picked up; Andrew ("Big Andy") Cavender to 5 years probation; Terry Ray Smith to 5 years probation; Barbara Jean Rogers (with a separate possession count) to 10 years probation); Brian Lee King to 5 years probation; Katie Lynn Spradlin to 3 years probation; Randall Lee ("Randy") Estep to 5 years probation with 12 months inpatient rehab; Jeffery Wayne Fowler to 5 years to serve 2 years; Michael David ("Slam") Coalson to 10 to serve 2; Christopher Shane ("Turtle") Calhoun to 5 years probation; Christie Rebecca Calhoun to 5 years probation; Justin Steven ("Fatty") Willingham to 5 years probation; Melissa Arrington to 5 years probation; Susan Nicole ("Nikki") Arrington to 5 years probation concurrent with another case (although she presently is back in jail on new meth sale and possession charges); Christy Lee Lower to 5 years probation, initially intensive probation and drug treatment; Matthew Joseph ("Matt") Bishop to 5 years probation; William Mark ("Mark") Bishop to 5 years probation with 12 months inpatient rehab; and Mitchell Thomas ("187") Cook to 5 years probation. Seven of the defendants had their cases dismissed altogether for their cooperation (again, some regarding other cases as well), including Lindsay Ryan Brown (although she subsequently re-offended), Craig Harrison ("Playboy") Shelton, Donnie Joe ("Dunk") Veal Jr. (although he had some of his parole revoked), Tina Jo Coleman, Rhonda Denise Fowler, Nicholas Martez ("Nick") Nelson and Brittany Kay Wilson. Eight of the defendants had their cases dismissed for insufficient evidence (the prosecution having decided that as the case developed the corroboration was lacking), including David Addison, Thomas William Wilson, Tanya Lynn Ivy (although she pled guilty in another case), Patrick Jason Thrower, Brandy Michelle Robinson, Jimmy David ("Kenyon") McKenzie, Gerald Lee ("Stash") Crews, III, and Lisa Marie Eady. One other, Carol Reney ("Reney") Spradlin, had the charges against her dismissed after they were used to revoke her probation in Douglas County (and she now faces a new charge in Coweta). Mayer said one remaining defendant, Sherrie Marie Cavender, escaped custody during a trafficking trial in Troup County in October 2009. She remains at large, although she was convicted in her absence and sentenced to 30 years to serve 15 years.

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