Almost a week after a series of raids were conducted by GBI drug agents resulted in the arrest of 15 Carroll County residents, deputies on Tuesday charged another suspect in the case.
Buddy Robert Townsend, 52, of Villa Rica was located and arrested without incident by county deputies on Tuesday, making him No. 16 of the 22 people being sought by authorities, according to Daniel Sims, a special agent of the GBI West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office.
Townsend was charged with attempt or conspiracy to commit a drug-related crime and using a communication facility to commit a felony, according to Carroll County Jail records.
Authorities said a “communication facility” includes talking on the telephone, computer, texting, emailing, communicating using a social media app, or another form of texting, such as WhatsApp.
Townsend’s arrest followed an eight-month investigation in the dealings of an alleged drug trafficking network in Carroll County. The group distributed methamphetamine throughout west and north Georgia, as well as areas in Alabama and Tennessee, Sims said.
Among those already arrested in the case was Freddy Strickland, 44, of Villa Rica. Sims said Wednesday that GBI agents first heard Strickland’s name about a year and a half ago and began conducting interviews to learn who and where Strickland was. That inquiry, Sims said, kicked off an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking network.
By January, Sims said, authorities had arrested multiple drug dealers in north Georgia who allegedly said they were supplied drugs by the network. Lawmen also developed confidential sources that called suspects about drugs and distribution, which prompted GBI to investigate Strickland and his associates.
“We’re fairly certain that this pattern of drug trafficking has been going on for a substantial period of time,” said Sims, and noted authorities had monitored the movements of suspects known to visit five locations that were suspected of harboring methamphetamine.
In the past couple of months, the investigation accelerated according to Sims, which led authorities to execute a series of search warrants and 22 arrest warrants.
On Thursday morning, Sept. 10, the GBI and Haralson-Paulding Drug Task Force conducted simultaneous raids at 138 Hunters Lake Drive in Villa Rica, 578 Sandhill Hulett Road in Villa Rica, 361 Williams Road in Villa Rica, 125 Robindale Lane in Temple, and 557 Remington Lane in Acworth, according to a GBI press release.
Of the 15 arrests that authorities made that day, 13 were apprehended during the morning raids, one was located later that night by deputies, and one turned himself in at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sims.
“The GBI along with several different departments and county sheriff’s offices cooperated and lend operational support,” Sims said and noted the search warrants were completed without incident and the scenes were safely secured.
Subsequent searches produced the seizure of more than 38 kilograms of methamphetamine with a street value of approximately $530,000, a quantity of marijuana, some illicit pharmaceuticals, 11 firearms, 34 vehicles, and approximately $200,000 in U.S. Currency from drug proceeds, according to a GBI press release.
Authorities noted that all the weapons were run through a database and none of them have been confirmed as stolen at this time.
Special Agent Sims believes all the drugs the suspected individuals trafficked, other than what was seized, has made it into the community and said the drug enforcement office is currently searching for the six remaining suspects and more drug operations in the area.