15 arrested, drugs seized in GBI raids

Weapons, cash and drugs seized Thursday in Carroll County following a series of raids conducted by a GBI drug task force are shown.

A series of raids early Thursday by GBI drug agents yielded the arrests of 15 Carroll County residents and the seizure of more than a half-million dollars in methamphetamine as well as guns, and cash.

“This is a big deal,” said Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards. “This is the largest meth dealer we’ve ever seen around here.”

Authorities said the investigation began in January 2020, and that lawmen monitored the movements of suspects known to visit five locations that were suspected of harboring methamphetamine, according to Special Agent Daniel Sims of the GBI West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office.

“We’re fairly certain that this pattern of drug trafficking has been going on for a substantial period of time,” said Sims, who also noted, this social network of drug traffickers were known to sell throughout west and north Georgia, but could not confirm if they trafficked anything out of state.

In the past couple of months, the investigation accelerated according to Sims, which led authorities to execute a series of search warrants and arrest warrants.

Around 8 a.m. on Thursday, 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.

“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.

The press release issued Friday identified the following as those arrested in the case:

Freddy Strickland, 44, of Villa Rica was charged with trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony, possession of Schedule II controlled substances, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Carroll County Jail records show additional charges of four warrants for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a warrant for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Denzel Isaiah Strickland, 26, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines and using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Latiffany Andrews Gibbons, 38, of Bowdon was charged with trafficking methamphetamines and using a communication facility to commit a felony.

Nathaniel Seth Edwards, 25, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamine and using a communication facility to commit a felony. Carroll County Jail records show additional charges of trafficking illegal drugs and a warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Andregus Miquel Sparks, 41, of Temple was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines and using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Stephanie Diane Keeton, 36, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony, and possession of methamphetamines with the intent to distribute. Carroll County Jail records show additional charges of trafficking illegal drugs, possession of synthetic cannabinoid with the intent to distribute, and a parole violation warrant. As of Friday evening, she remains in jail and was denied bond.

Corey Michael Evans, 40, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Donald Ray Dickerson, 60, of Temple was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Jason Lee West, 39, of Roopville was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Vincente Dwight Brown, 43, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Michael Albert Patterson, 37, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy trafficking methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. Carroll County Jail records show an additional charge of a parole violation warrant. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

Shea Lynn Holland, 45, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, using a communication facility to commit a felony.

Lindsey Ann Hale, 27, of Villa Rica was charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamines, using a communication facility to commit a felony. As of Friday evening, she had been issued a $10,000 bond and was released from jail.

Samantha Lee Green, 23, of Temple was charged with possession of Schedule II controlled substances. Carroll County Jail records show additional charges of two counts of possession of Schedule II controlled substances, possession of Schedule I controlled substances, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. As of Friday evening, she had been issued a $10,000 bond and was released from jail.

Christopher Harper, 35, of Temple was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Carroll County Jail records show an additional charge of failure to appear for a finger-printable charge. As of Friday evening, he remains in jail and was denied bond.

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.

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 the release.

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 more drug operations in the area.

The press release added that this is an ongoing investigation, more charges and arrests could follow.