Traffic stop finds a quarter of a kilogram in drugs

News, Police & Government

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer authorities are reporting today that a routine traffic stop led to much more as officers and a K-9 unit discovored almost a quarter of kilo of what they suspect to be Methamphetamine.

Officers have taken two men into custody earlier this week when officials say that officers noticed the truck, turned on their lights, and proceeded to follow the vehicle before finally getting it to stop.

The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office has released the following information:

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at approximately 1937 hours, Deputies from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a green Ford Ranger for an expired tag, defective equipment, busted windshield, and tire requirements on Mountaintown Road. The green Ford Ranger failed to stop for Deputies and threw a brown plastic grocery bag out of the vehicle. Once Deputies got the vehicle stopped, Mr. Richard Drennon Sanford, age 63, and Mr. Charles Leon Hollifield, age 53, were taken into custody.

Deputies then deployed a K-9 for an open air sniff of the vehicle. The K-9 alerted on the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed the following: a clear plastic Ziploc bag containing a white crystal substance (suspected methamphetamine), a set of black digital scales with residue, hypodermic syringes, a food vacuum sealer with vacuum sealing bags that were cut.

A search incident to arrest of the suspects revealed that Mr. Sanford had $7,413 in U.S. currency, and Mr. Hollifield had a small amount of marijuana along with $998 in U.S. currency. The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office seized the $8,411 in U.S. currency.

Deputies conducted a search of the area and recovered the brown plastic grocery bag that was thrown from the vehicle. The bag contained six vacuumed-sealed bags containing a white crystal substance (suspected methamphetamine) that weighted approximately 223.4 grams (7.880 oz.’s).

Mr. Sanford is charged with the following: V.G.C.S.A. Trafficking (Methamphetamines), V.G.C.S.A. with Intent to Distribute (Methamphetamines), V.G.C.S.A. (Methamphetamines), Drug E Related Objects, No Seat Belt, Expired Tag, Defective Equipment, Littering, Tampering with Evidence, Open Container of Alcohol, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude, Reckless Driving, and Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Mr. Hollifield is charged with the following: V.G.C.S.A. Trafficking (Methamphetamines), V.G.C.S.A. with Intent to Distribute (Methamphetamines), V.G.C.S.A. (Methamphetamines), Drug Related Objects, No Seat Belt, Littering, Tampering with Evidence, and Possession of Marijuana less than 1 oz.

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Officers and Construction updates for new year in BOE

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Entering the new year, the Gilmer County Board of Education began discussions about the plans of moving into Phase 2 of the High School Renovations this summer.

With talks going back and forth on Calendars and the possibility of state involvement in school calendars, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs said that even starting in the first week of August as the current calendar plans are incorporating the summer construction plans. The uncertainty comes that if the State moves forward with recommendations to extend the summers with schools starting the first Monday of September, and ending around June 1.

While no indication comes on what the future may hold on this, Downs assured the Board that the plans for construction and summer renovations can be fit in with the school systems currently planned summer break.

Additionally, the Board elected its new officers for 2019 with nominations and approvals for Michael Bramlett to continue as Board Chairman and Ronald Watkins as Vice-Chair.

 

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Suspect involved in shooting now missing

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The suspect of a home invasion last week, Willie Lee McCoy, was shot by law enforcement during the incident, but has now escaped custody at the hospital where he was being cared for.

According to Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, McCoy was incapacitated and under heavy medication as he was life-flighted to the hospital for his injuries. Nicholson states he was kept under guard by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office for 18 hours.

During that time, Nicholson says he was assured multiple times by the hospital security that they would monitor and guard McCoy and would inform the Sheriff’s Office when he was being released. However, over the weekend, he got out of his bed and walked out the front door of the hospital. At this time, his whereabouts are unknown.

The Sheriff’s has notified those involved in last weeks incident about the escape and is currently looking for him. They are also looking for Loren Danielle Denson. Nicholson said that the Sheriff’s Office is only seeking Denson for questioning at this time as they believe she may have information about McCoy. He asserted that the office was only seeking Denson as a possible connection at this time.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to be aware of the situation and is asking anyone who spots or has information on McCoy to contact law enforcement immediately. They are asking citizens not to approach these two, but instead call 911 if you spot them.

McCoy is expected to still be affected by injuries to his hip and arm and that one of his injuries would be in need of follow up treatment.

According to the Sheriff’s BOLO McCoy is wanted for charges of aggravated assault on Peace Officer, Armed Robbery, and Home Invasion.

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PHS lockdown and what’s next in the Vaping Campaign

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Jasper, Ga – The Pickens County Board of Education hosted a no-threat lockdown today on the campus of Pickens High School.

Parents and citizens saw the Pickens County Sheriff respond to concerns saying:

We currently have a team of deputies and K-9 units participating in a controlled sweep of the Pickens High School campus. While the school is being checked, students are being placed in a non-emergency lockdown status. Students are safe and no threat exists at the school.

When questioned about the lockdown, Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson said the K-9 sweep was scheduled for a few weeks ago, but had to be pushed back due to scheduling conflicts with Cherokee County who supplies the K-9 units. As the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has retired its last K-9 unit for medical reasons, Wilson stated it is a part of the agreement with Cherokee County to utilize theirs.

With the lockdown and sweep completed, Wilson informed FYN that no drugs were located during the sweep today. Though he noted it was not directly related to the rising use of vape devices, Wilson did respond to questions about the trend saying that it is a concern in the school system.

Sweeps like this is a part of the school’s enforcement of its code of conduct as well as state and federal law. Though Wilson said there is more going on behind the scenes in the system’s response to the rising vape concerns and to school security in general, he declined to release details saying, “There is a number of things that we are doing and things that we are working with the Sheriff’s Office, some of that we just can’t publicize at the moment.”

More information on these steps like the K-9 sweeps and other programs the school already has in place over its years in operation can be found at the upcoming Monday, September 24, day of events involving the Office of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and Pickens School district as they hold a meeting for parents for information and the ‘Chat with the Superintendent’ at Pickens High School at 6 p.m.

Wilson went on to note that the school system is being forced to change the way it views vaping devices. While he notes that it is against the law for underage kids to possess cigarettes and vaping devices and they have enforced the law, he did state that the school system may have, at times, not utilized the most extreme forms of discipline available in every situation involving the use of nicotine. He went on to say, “Now that this added ability of being able to vape just about anything, that brings it to a whole different level.”

As part of the school’s efforts to inform parents and students about the dangers that vapes present with not knowing what is in them, the board is working with the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office. Wilson said, “We may have looked at vaping in the past as more of a replacement for a cigarette, and not as a delivery device for drugs… Going forward, we probably would.”

He added later, “We’re going to have to really start disciplining to the fullest extent that we can, given to us by our Code of Conduct or either by the Law to keep our children safe.”

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UPDATE: Drusilla Patrick autopsy confirms homicide

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – A new update has come from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) in the case of the murder of Drusilla Patrick.

Completing the autopsy, GBI has confirmed a gunshot wound leading to homicide. Though believed to be Drusilla Patrick, the release states they are still awaiting a formal forensic identification of the body. Though officials are continuing the investigation into her death, another new development came with news of Charles Michael Patrick’s death in custody at the Gilmer County Detention Center.

As reported in the original press release, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the GBI and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) executed a search warrant at the Patrick home on Ridgemont Drive in Ellijay, Georgia, which extended into Thursday. On Thursday, human remains believed to be those of Drusilla Patrick were located on the property.

The official release for the completion of the autopsy states:

The autopsy for Drusilla Patrick was completed at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office on Friday, April 27, 2018. The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wound and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. A formal forensic identification of Drusilla Patrick is pending.

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Murder Arrest in Gilmer

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – A joint operation between the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), and United States Probation Officers culminated in an arrest yesterday of Charles Michael Patrick, 72, of Ridgemont subdivision in Ellijay, GA.

Federal Probation officers were supervising Patrick, according to a GBI press release, when they became concerned about the whereabouts of his wife, Drusilla Patrick. During the ensuing investigation by the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, a request was made for assistance from GBI.

Charles Michael Patrick, 72, was arrested Thursday, April 26, on murder charges for his wife, Drusilla Patrick.

Charles Michael Patrick, 72, was arrested Thursday, April 26, on murder charges for his wife, Drusilla Patrick.

Their press release states, “When the probation officer received information that Charles Patrick re-married unexpectedly, he questioned Patrick about Drusilla Patrick and received conflicting statements.”

The Gilmer Sheriff’s Office states that in addition to Federal Probation, Patrick was being monitored as a registered sex offender by GCSO.

A cooperative investigation by the GBI and GCSO revealed: “Drusilla Patrick was last seen alive between December 2016 and January 2017.” GBI also reports that Patrick had told different people different reasons for Drusilla’s absence and that they were not actually married, having been legally divorced in 1970.

Additionally, Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson noted it was excellent “head’s up police work” by federal probation officers and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registry Compliance Officer is what led to the solving of a murder and missing person that had never been reported.

According to the GBI:

“On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the GBI and GCSO executed a search warrant at the Patrick home on Ridgemont Drive in Ellijay, Georgia which extended into Thursday. On Thursday, human remains believed to be those of Drusilla Patrick were located on the property. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, April 27th at the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Decatur, Georgia.”

The Sheriff’s office reports that Patrick was taken into custody at a local motel without incident on Thursday, April 26, by Sheriff Nicholson, Gilmer County Deputy Sheriffs, GBI Agents, and a Federal Probation Officer.

Nicholson stated, “I can not begin to give adequate praise to Corporal Jason Reed and the federal probation officers.”

Patrick is currently housed in the Gilmer County Detention Center charged with Murder and held without bond at this time. With the investigation continuing and the GBI claiming additional charges could still be forthcoming, officials are not revealing anything further at this time.

Sheriff Nicholson did make one final comment to commend the work of his Detectives and the GBI Region 8 agents for their excellent investigation into a crime that could have very easily never been discovered, much less solved.

Read the official press releases from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for further information.

Author

Shooting at Dalton High School

News

DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.

Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.

The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.

Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”

The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.

 

Author

Yukon bus wreck report released

News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Georgia State Patrol has released its official report for the Yukon Road bus incident last Monday, Jan. 22.

According to the report, officials say the bus driver, 71-year-old Harold Moody, says he drifted onto the shoulder as he was reaching for his microphone and looking into his mirror at the students on his bus.

The report states Moody was “distracted” while he was driving by using the microphone and causing him to drift off the east side of Yukon Road before striking a culvert and veering back across both lanes before overturning and coming to rest blocking the road. Moody was not injured in the accident.

Vehicle 1 was traveling north attempting to negotiate a curve on Yukon Road. Vehicle 1 drifted and traveled off the east side of Yukon Road causing the driver to lose control.
Vehicle 1 traveled north on the east shoulder into a ditch. The undercarriage of vehicle 1 struck the ditch culvert. Vehicle 1 veered left and travel west across both lanes of the
roadway. Vehicle 1 overturned and came to an uncontrolled rest facing west on its right side across both lanes of Yukon Road.

Driver 1 stated that he reached up to grab the microphone and looked at the rearview mirror to address the student passengers. He stated that the student passengers were being loud and using profanity. Driver 1 became distracted by using the microphone and looking at the rearview mirror while attempting to negotiate a downhill curve.

School officials have already confirmed the use of a substitute driver after having placed Moody on administrative leave. Read more about the accident with “Bus wreck on Yukon injures students,” “Responding to Gilmer’s bus wreck on Yukon Road,” and “Ralston speaks on Yukon bus crash.”

 

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