Stolen firearms lead to drug arrests

Published 4:40 pm Friday, June 5, 2009

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office has made multiple arrests for illegal drug sales following an investigation into stolen firearms.

Sheriff’s investigators have been conducting an investigation into a number of firearms that have been recently stolen out of vehicles, according to Capt. Chip Nix.

Capt. Nix said tips led them to believe that two juveniles and possibly two other adults may have been responsible for the thefts.

Using an undercover officer, investigators set up the purchase of a .357-caliber handgun from 18-year-old Aaron Michael Bryan of 207 Country Club Road in Bainbridge. The firearm was recently stolen from a vehicle on Crawford Road in Decatur County.

Bryan was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm on June 3.

Investigators then learned that Bryan may have received the gun from a local 15-year-old. They conducted a search warrant on the juvenile’s home and located a holster for the weapon that was also stolen. The juvenile was arrested and also charged in the theft.

Nix said investigators also received information into a possible illegal prescription drug sales ring that was taking place in Decatur County. He said investigators set up a “buy-bust,” stopping the car of Ben Henry Richard Jr., 18, of 1004 E. Alice St. in Bainbridge, who was in possession of a large quantity of prescription pills. Richard was charged with possession of hydrocodone with intent to distribute.

During the bust, Nix said Carlton Cook, 20, of 142 7th St., was also inside the vehicle but was not arrested. Investigators learned that Cook may also be in possession of illegal narcotics and subsequently obtained a search warrant for a residence on 7th Street. Cook was charged with possession of hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone, a pain reliever marketed under a variety of trade names including Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab. It is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and dependence.

In the course of looking for more stolen property and following up on a complaint about possible illegal drug activity, deputies obtained a search warrant for a home at 1503 Forest Lane in Bainbridge. During the search, investigators located an amount of marijuana packaged for sale, according to Nix.

Eighteen-year-old Evan Lashley, a resident of the home, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and tampering with evidence.

Nix said the case is an ongoing investigation and further arrested may stem from the case. He said the Georgia Bureau of Investigations also assisted in the investigation.