Authorities arrest alleged child molestation suspect

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Michael Case

JASPER, Ga. – According to reports from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), a fugitive, Michael Case, was located and arrested on the evening of August 8.

The 37-year-old, white male led authorities on a two-day hunt with multiple law enforcement agencies working together to locate the suspect. Local agencies and the GBI took to social media asking for the public’s help in finding Case on Saturday, August 8.

Case

Michael Travis Case was arrested in Fannin County, Ga.

Arrest warrants were issued over the weekend as authorities were seeking Case for aggravated child molestation, incest, and statutory rape charges. Authorities had requested help from the public for information or whereabouts him.

However, early this morning, August 9, authorities updated social media posts saying that Case had been apprehended. Pickens County Sheriff’s Office added that he was in custody in Fannin County, where he was last seen.

According to GBI, they were requested to aid Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in a child abuse investigation on August 4, 2020. That investigation is still ongoing. However, warrants were issued for him and authorities began the search later in the week.

Efforts involved Sheriff’s Offices from several counties including Cherokee County, Fannin County, Gilmer County, and Pickens County alongside the Georgia Department of Corrections and GBI.

Case is a Gilmer County resident but was last seen in Blue Ridge as authorities said when beginning the search. He was apprehended late on August 8, 2020.

****UPDATE: Michael Case was arrested on the evening of August 8.****

WANTED: Arrest warrants have been issued for…

Posted by Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Saturday, August 8, 2020

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available. Please remember that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Arrests made in drug busts with international ties in Pickens

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drug bust

A single, anonymous tip led to local, state, and federal authorities to confiscating 137 kilograms of methamphetamine valued at more than $1-million, and charges brought against 47 people, several from Pickens County, including the drug broker in the middle of it.

As a result of a 9-month investigation known as “Operation The Real McCoy,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (CMANS), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served 47 arrest warrants for multiple charges including gang and drug related offenses.

“This is the largest bust I can recall,” said Pickens County Sheriff, Donny Craig.

drug bust

More than $1-million in meth were confiscated during the multi-agency “The Real McCoy” operation. A Pickens County man is charged with brokering the drugs between Mexican gangs and street level dealers.

In September 2019, Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (CMANS) agents began an investigation into a supply chain of methamphetamine into Cherokee County.  The initial investigations led CMANS agents to DeKalb and Gwinnett counties and members of the Ghostface Gangsters.

Phil Price of CMANS, which serves Pickens and Cherokee counties, said they discovered the trafficking was originating in Dekalb and Gwinnett counties and upon learning many of those involved were gang members, they partnered with the state agency’s Gang Task Force.

John Melvin, Assistant Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, named 20 agencies involved in the investigation, which is still on-going.

It’s critical that the agencies work together, said Robert Hammer, Deputy Special Agent in Charge at Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta office.

“The investigation originally started into Ghost Face Killers and Gangster Disciples and as the investigation progressed, we were able to expand the network and see the Mexican affiliated gangs such as Sureños 13,” said Hammer.

With American-based gangs working cooperatively with Mexican gangs to bring drugs in and sell them, law enforcement has to pool their resources in order to combat them, he said.

“As gangs merge, we need to merge our gangs as well,” said Hammer.

Craig said his office has only been involved with CMANS for a year, but this investigation alone has proven it’s a good partnership.

“I feel like we’ve made a big dent, not just in Pickens County, but all of North Georgia,” said Craig.

Based on the initial investigation, CMANS, the GBI Gang Task Force, and HSI conducted an intensive investigation into the drug trafficking and distribution organization involving Brannon McCoy, age 26, Michael  Hazelwood, age 45, and Tricia Setser, age 38, who are traffickers of methamphetamine operating within numerous counties in Georgia including Sumter, Effingham, Fulton, Clayton, DeKalb, Cobb, Cherokee, Gilmer, and Pickens.  The investigation revealed a network involving members of the Ghostface Gangsters, the Gangster Disciples, and the Sureños.

McCoy acted as a broker from inside the State Prison Camp in Sumter County between drug traffickers in Mexico and the street level dealers in Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The name of the operation became known as “The Real McCoy.” Investigators were able to monitor McCoy and from there, identify sources of supply, leading to some of the day’s arrests.

Price said McCoy was one of the main players and is from Pickens County. “His family is here. We followed  the trail of money through here and also several people involved are also from Pickens County.”

The case will be tried in Pickens County and is a case District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee is looking forward to trying.

drug bust

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Department, working with CMANS, GBI, and Homeland Security charged 47 people, several from Pickens County, with trafficking meth.

“(It will require) a lot work to get the case prepared and ready for trial,” said Sosebee. “(The agencies) have worked very well together with our office, so we are looking forward to proceeding with the case from a prosecution standpoint.”

Craig said that while the bust is monumental, it is still on-going.

Agencies involved in the investigation were the CMANS, the GBI Gang Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Pickens Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Corrections, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Barrow Sheriff’s Office, the Gordon County Drug Task Force, Gwinnett Gang Task Force and Special Investigation Section, DeKalb District Attorney’s Office, the Cobb PD and District Attorney’s Office, the Clayton SO and District Attorney’s Office, the Apex Unit from Atlanta PD, the West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, and the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office.

The GBI Gang Task Force is made up of GBI Agents, task force agents from the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, the Atlanta Police Department, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, the Georgia National Guard Counter Drug Task Force and the United States Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations.

The Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad is a joint task force working in Cherokee County and Pickens County to investigate drug related violations. Participating agencies include the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, the Pickens Sheriff’s Office, the Canton Police Department, the Woodstock Police Department, the Holly Springs Police Department, the Ball Ground Police Department, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office for the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, the District Attorney’s Office for the Appalachian Judicial Circuit and the Georgia State Patrol. Citizens may call in tips anonymously to (770) 345-7920 or may speak to an agent by calling (678) 493-7625.

 

Arrests

The following individuals were arrested on June 24, 2020:

  1. Erik Noe Fuentes Escobar, 26, charged in Barrow County, GA with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  2. Kevin Vega-Santana, 18, charged with trafficking methamphetamine in Fulton County, GA.
  3. Artemio Maldonado Santana, 28, charged with trafficking methamphetamine in Fulton County, GA.
  4. Elvis Maldonado-Santana, 21, charged with trafficking methamphetamine in Fulton County, GA.
  5. Buford Smith, 68, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in Pickens County, GA.
  6. Leah Thompson, 31, charged with possession of methamphetamine in Pickens County, GA.
  7. Joseph Arp, 50, charged with possession of methamphetamine in Pickens County, GA.
  8. Wendy Kirby, 44, charged with obstruction in Pickens County, GA.
  9. Tracy Kirby, 42, charged with obstruction in Pickens County, GA.
  10. William Ryder, 45 charged with obstruction in Pickens County, GA.
  11. Ashley Foster, 31, charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a Schedule IV substance in Pickens County, GA.
  12. Christopher Mountain 47, charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a Schedule IV substance in Pickens County, GA.
  13. Marjorie Brown, 61, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in Pickens County, GA.

The following were charged with Violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in Pickens County as part of “Operation The Real McCoy” and were already in custody or a fugitive:

  1. Tanner Burnell, 31, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  2. Donnie Chastain, 47, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  3. Cindy McCoy-Wilson, 49, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  4. Christopher Morris, 34, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  5. Allyson Moyer, 41, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  6. Jesse Rodriguez, 22, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  7. David Skinner, 46, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  8. Amanda Vliek, 37, currently in custody at the Pickens County Jail
  9. Brandon Sanchez Laney, 32, also charged with Violation of Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Act, currently in custody at the Cherokee County Jail
  10. Tyler Morris, 28, currently in custody at the Cherokee County Jail
  11. Carl Welchel, 49, currently in custody at the Cherokee County Jail
  12. Tricia Setser, 38, currently in custody at the Cherokee County Jail
  13. Casey Plumb, 31, currently in custody at the Cherokee County Jail
  14. Michael Hazelwood, 45, currently in custody at Cherokee County Jail
  15. Josh Phillips, 23, currently in custody at the Gwinnett County Jail
  16. Josh David Collins, 37, currently in custody of GDC
  17. William Jamie Fields, 27, currently in custody of GDC
  18. Brannon Chase McCoy, 26, currently in custody of GDC
  19. Terrell Jamar Owens, 38, currently in custody of GDC
  20. Bryan Thomas Pitt, 36, currently in custody of GDC
  21. Kevin Rodriguez, 24, currently in custody of GDC
  22. Joseph Seaborn III, 47, currently in custody of GDC
  23. Dewane Cook, 46, currently in custody in Monroe County, TN
  24. Orvelin Garcia Penaloza, 25, currently a fugitive from justice
  25. Evan Dannny Taylor Yancey, currently a fugitive from justice
  26. Dillon Thompson, 40, currently a fugitive from justice
  27. Savannah Newton, 22, currently a fugitive from justice
  28. Tracey Shirley, 47, currently a fugitive from justice
  29. Brittany Owen, 41, also charged with Violation of Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Act, currently a fugitive from justice
  30. Dennis Debord, 39, currently a fugitive from justice
  31. Jessica Darby, 33, currently a fugitive from justice
  32. Derick Barker, 35, currently a fugitive from justice
  33. Justin Barker, 31, currently a fugitive from justice
  34. Mindy Skelton, 38, currently a fugitive from justice

 

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Read the Pickens County Jail bookings here.

Transcript of Press Conference

Phil Price of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, serving Cherokee and Pickens County. In  September 2019, we got information that led us into an investigation into methamphetamine trafficking that was taking place in Cherokee and Pickens County. It was originating in Dekalb and Gwinnett counties. As we began to conduct the investigation, we determined that a majority of the people involved were members of gangs here in Georgia. So we partnered with the the GBI’s task force to further this investigation and I’ll turn this over to the GBI.

John Melvin, Assistant Director of the GBI, I’d like to thank you for being here for this wonderful, memorial event.With over 70,000 gang  members state-wide, it is essential that in order to fight this occupation of gang members that we have cooperation between the many agencies. In that regard I need to take time to thank the many agencies that have brought us here today for this drug and gang bust. The following agencies assisted us: the CMANS unit, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Gang Task Force, Homeland Security investigations, the Applachian Judicial Circuit whose district attorneys  will take this case to trial. Thank you. the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Corrections, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Bartow County Sheriff’s office, Gordon County Task Force, Gwinnett County Task Force, the Special Investigations Section of the Gwinnett County Gang Task Force, the Dekalb County District Attorney’s office, the Cobb County Police Department, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton County District Attorney’s office, the APEX Unit of hte Atlanta Police Department, the West Metro Drug Enforcement Office, the Appalachian Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the Georgia National Guard, as well as the Drug Task Force of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department. All of these agencies in their way, helped us with this investigation and today, we’re happy to announce 137 kilos of methamphetamine are off the streets, taken us part of the multi-jurisdiction cooperative effort to take down members of our Ghost Face Gang that is in this state, as well Gangster Disciples. The gangs are cooperating but so are the agencies that stand against this evil. Those agencies that have helped us out and hte agents that are on the street,  from the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless you.

Robert Hammer, special agent with HSI investigations in Atlanta: I just want to commend the Sheriff of Pickens County and all the agencies that John mentioned on GBI’s behalf. When I committed to the director a year ago that we wanted to partner with GBI on the governor’s gang task force, this was exactly the type of partnership I envisioned and this is a great result for this task force. It’s one of the largest for the task force and there are certainly more to come. From our aspect on the federal side of these investigations, our focus is on the transnational side.  We look to add value to and support these local partners in being successful. We’re looking at multiple gangs collaborating to import these narcotics into the region. specifically Surenos working with Ghost Face and Gangster Disciples. Mexico continues to be a major source of supply of methamphetamine  in the Metro Atlanta area and certainly here in Pickens Counthy. The scourge that drugs and the gang cause this community is no more prevalent today than over 130 kilos of meth off the streets as well as multiple firearms. We’re proud to work with GBI and the governor’s gang task force and to more contributions.

Phil Price: the initial investigation was just a tip that we got and as we investigated, we saw so many people who were interacting with the suspects that we had. We also developed information about the gang aspect and at that time it was on Ghost Face gangsters. We got the GBI gang task force involved, started doing very intensive surveillance, watching these people for long periods of time and learned in fact there were three different gangs. Thanks to the GBI gang task force, we were able to further this investigation into areas we were not well versed in. This investigation was initiated just before COVID became a problem and we had to deal with all those secondary issues, how we interacted with other people. A very complex investigation, a very intense investigation. I think everyone here tonight can go home and rest better.

drug bust

Christopher Scott Morris, 34, Jasper, Georgia

drug bust

Cindy Marie McCoy, 49,
Jasper, Georgia

drug bust

David Robert Skinner, 46,
Canton, Georgia

drug bust

Tanner Evin Burnell, 35,
Ellijay, Georgia

drug bust

Donnie Lee Chastain, 47,
Talking Rock, Georgia

Amanda Vliek, 37,
Kennesaw, Georgia

Marjorie Sue Brown, 62,
Talking Rock, Georgia

Ashley Elizabeth Foster, 31,
Talking Rock, Georgia

Tracey Rena Kirby, 46,
Jasper, Georgia

drug bust

Wendy Elisha Kirby, 44,
Jasper, Georgia

drug bust

Jesse Rodriguez, 22,
Austell, Georgia

 

 

GBI Seeks Public’s Assistance in 2011 Toccoa Murder Investigation

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Toccoa, GA (March 5, 2020) – This month marks the nine year anniversary of the murder of
Robert Lee Simmons, Jr. The GBI is seeking the public’s assistance with any information about
Simmons’ last days and his murder. Simmons, 46, was found dead at his home at the Glendale
Apartments on Norman Drive on March 1, 2011 by a family member. The Toccoa Police
Department responded to the scene after receiving a 911 call. Simmons’ death was determined to
be a homicide.

This case has remained active for the past nine years and both the GBI and Toccoa Police
Department continue to work to solve this case. Recently, investigators have received new
promising leads in this investigation and are asking for help from those who knew Simmons.
Even the smallest detail may help police with this investigation.
Both law enforcement and Robert Simmons’ family and friends implore anyone with information
to contact the GBI or Toccoa Police Department. GBI Special Agent Shilo Crane is the case
agent and may be reached at 706-348-4866. Tips can also be made on the GBI Tipline at 800-
597-8477 or online submissions may be made on the GBI website: www.gbi.georgia.gov. The
Toccoa Police Department may be contacted at 706-282-3244.

Georgia Criminal Street Gang Database Operational

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

@GBI_GA
Contact: Nelly Miles – Public Affairs Director
[email protected]

Decatur, GA (February 4, 2020) – Through the collaborative efforts of the Georgia Bureau of
Investigation (GBI), the Department of Community Supervision (DCS), and the Georgia
Department of Corrections (GDC), the Georgia Criminal Street Gang Database (GCSGD) is now
operational. The GCSGD is a statewide repository and intelligence database that contains
information about various criminal street gangs, criminal street gang members, and associates
and criminal street gang activities.

As outlined in O.C.GA. §16-15-11, the purpose of the GCSGD is:
 to expand the recognition and identification of criminal street gangs, their
members/associates and criminal street gang activities,
 to increase officer safety by improving the sharing of information among multiple
jurisdictions using computer intelligence database technology,
 to enhance community security through the prosecution of criminal street gangs and their
members/associates.

The statute for the GCSGD was enacted in 2010. Under Governor Kemp’s administration, the
implementation of this database has been made a priority. The following agencies participated
in the pilot program: DCS, GDC, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Morrow Police Department,
South Fulton Police Department, Cobb County Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s
Office, and the GBI. The statistics associated with the data remain fluid; but as of today, the
system contains over 100 gangs and over 17,000 gang members &amp; associates.

All state, county, and municipal law enforcement, prosecution and corrections agencies, offices,
and departments may timely furnish information acquired relating to criminal street gangs and
criminal gang activity to the GBI to be included in the GCSGD. To become a participating
agency/authorized user, please email [email protected] requesting access and to complete the
necessary training.

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Toccoa, GA

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Special Agent in Charge Jesse Maddox (706) 552-2309

 

(Toccoa, GA) – On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, at approximately 3:30 PM, the Georgia Bureau
of Investigation was requested by the Toccoa Police Department (TPD) to investigate an officer
involved shooting.

Two TPD officers responded to a 911 call near an abandoned factory on West Spring Street in
Toccoa. A civilian called 911 when he recognized Kenton Deshaun Hall, age 48. Hall had
warrants for his arrest for the crimes of murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Hall was
armed with a knife when the officers arrived on the scene and did not comply with officers’
orders. During the encounter, one of the officers fired his weapon twice at Hall, striking him
once. Hall was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he remains in serious
condition. The officers and civilian were not injured during the encounter.
The GBI will continue its independent investigation. When the investigation is complete, it will
be turned over to the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.

GBI Press Release

Announcements

Three People Face Gang Charges in Connection with a Toccoa Murder and Aggravated Assault

Toccoa, Georgia (August 26, 2019) – On August 20, 2019, a Stephens County Grand Jury was asked to consider new testimony in the ongoing murder investigation into the death of Joel Keshon Green, 18, of Toccoa, Georgia and in the aggravated assault of Spencer Reason, 18, of Toccoa, Georgia. Green was killed in August 2018 and Kentavious Broudmain Walker, 22, Demetrius Sanchez Smith, 30 and Ty’Jai Trammel, 24, all of Toccoa, were charged in his murder. Reason was shot in July 2018 and Samantha Breanna George, 18 and Kentavious Broudmain Walker were charged with the aggravated assault.

Through continued investigation, it was determined that the crimes committed in these two cases were associated with criminal street gang activity. Because of the new evidence, the case was again presented to a Stephens County Grand Jury this week.

As a result of the Grand Jury proceedings, a true bill indictment was returned and additional warrants against Walker, Smith and George were issued. Walker is charged with malice murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of a firearm during the commission of a felony and 24 counts of violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act. Smith is charged with malice murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of a firearm during the commission of a felony and 22 counts of violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act. George is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and 3 counts of violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act. Walker and Smith are in custody and will remain in custody. George was arrested on August 21, 2019.

This case is being prosecuted by the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

# # #

Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel Issues Antihistamine Medication Warning for Parents and Caregivers

State & National

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

News Release

Contact:  Special Agent in Charge Trebor Randle

404/693-4717

For Immediate Release

July 5, 2017

Decatur, GA – The Georgia Child Fatality Review (GCFR) Panel is issuing a public awareness statement for parents and caregivers to never use antihistamine medications for the sole purpose of making children sleep or calm down. The danger of such misuse is acute diphenhydramine intoxication that can result in rapid heart rate, confusion, hallucinations, convulsions, and even death.

Since 2013, the Georgia Poison Control (GPC) Center has received 940 reports of this condition involving children age 5 and under. In Georgia, four infants have died because of the toxic  effects of diphenhydramine since 2015.

The U.S. Food &amp; Drug Administration advises that children under age two not be given any kind of cough and cold product that contains a decongestant or antihistamine, because serious and possibly life- threatening side effects could occur. National polling data has shown that as many as one in five mothers have given such drugs to get through a “big event,” such as a long car ride or plane trip. In some cases, it is dosing errors that cause the acute intoxication of the diphenhydramine. The difference between a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon can mean life or death for an infant.

Not sure which antihistamine is best for your child? Call your doctor or pediatrician. If you think you gave too much medication to your child, immediately contact Poison Control at 1-800- 222-1222 or start a LIVE CHAT with a poison information specialist at www.georgiapoisoncenter.org.

The main purpose of the GCFR Panel is to prevent child deaths. The mission of GCFR is to serve Georgia’s children by promoting more accurate identification and reporting of child fatalities, evaluating the prevalence and circumstances of both child abuse cases and child fatality investigations, and monitoring the implementation and impact of the statewide child injury prevention plan to prevent and reduce incidents of child abuse and fatalities in the state.

The GPC mission is to provide high quality poison center services to healthcare professionals and residents of Georgia. GPC goals are: provide 24-hour- a-day prompt and accurate poison information, educate Georgia residents on poison prevention and first aid, and educate healthcare professionals in the areas of clinical toxicology, poisoning epidemiology, poison prevention, toxicological diagnosis, and care.

East Ellijay Police Officer Arrested. Theft by Taking

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The GBI arrested East Ellijay Police Office Michael McClure at approximately noon today February 14th 2018.  A copy of Booking report and warrant below.  FYN has requested a statement from the GBI and East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan.

Below is a Press Release Statement from East Ellijay Chief of Police, Larry Callahan.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

State & National

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

News Release

Contact:  Nelly Miles – Public Affairs Director

404/270-8330

[email protected]

For Immediate Release

June 27, 2017

GBI Crime Lab Identifies Two New Fentanyl Analogues Cleveland, GA – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab in Cleveland, GA has identified two new fentanyl analogues, acrylfentanyl and tetrahydrofuran fentanyl. Both of these synthetic opioids had not previously been identified by the GBI Crime Lab. They both can be absorbed through the skin and are considered highly dangerous.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office submitted forensic drug evidence containing these two drugs to the crime lab in March of this year. Acrylfentanyl had been on the GBI’s watchlist for the past few months. Multiple reports in other states indicated that the opioid reversal drug, naloxone, may not be effective if someone overdosed after ingesting acrylfentanyl.

Legislation was introduced this year to outlaw acrylfentanyl in Georgia. The law banning the substance went into effect after passage by the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor’s signature on April 17, 2017. At this time, tetrahydrofuran fentanyl is not covered under GA law.

It is unknown how the human body will react to both drugs since they are not intended for human or veterinary use.

GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body Found in Banks County.

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GBI Seeks Help with Identifying Body

Commerce, Georgia – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is seeking the public’s help in identifying human remains found near Interstate 85 in Banks County.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, a skeleton was discovered in a wooded area near New Salem Methodist Church, at 2170 Highway 59, in Commerce.  The body’s location was one mile south of I-85, Exit 154 for Toccoa/SR 63/Martin Bridge Road.  The Banks County Sheriff’s Office requested GBI’s assistance with the investigation.

A forensic anthropological examination estimates the remains to be of an African American/Hispanic female, approximately 30-44 years of age, and approximately 4’9’ to 5’6” in height.  The date of death is estimated to be up to 4 years prior to the time of discovery.

Found among the remains, was a metal ring and a butterfly necklace charm (see attached photographs). Blue, purple, and gray in color fabrics were also collected from the scene. Dental is available for comparison.

Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the GBI Athens office at 706-552-2309 or the Banks County Sheriff’s Office at 706-677-2248. Information may also be submitted on-line here.

GBI Crime Lab Testing in Overdoses Related to Counterfeit Pills

News

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

News Release

Contact:  Nelly Miles – Public Affairs Director

404/270-8330

[email protected]

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2017

GBI Crime Lab Testing in Overdoses Related to Counterfeit Pills

Decatur, GA – On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab received evidence related to the reported overdoses in the Central Georgia area.  Preliminary results indicate a mixture of two synthetic opioids, with one of the drugs being consistent with a new fentanyl analogue.  This fentanyl analogue has not previously been identified by the GBI Crime Lab.  Due to the nature of the analysis, testing to confirm the full identity of the drug will require additional time.  The GBI Crime Laboratory continues to make the analysis a priority.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Poison Center, hospitals, local, state, and federal partners are working jointly on this investigation.

GBI Announces Recruitment of Forensic Pathology Fellows

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Decatur, GA – On Tuesday, April 11 2017, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Medical Examiner’s Office (GBI ME) after receiving approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), announced the recruitment efforts for two Forensic Pathology fellows.  This announcement was made possible because the Georgia legislature approved funding in the GBI’s FY ’18 budget to host the fellows.  The fellowship opportunity will recur each year and the agency is looking forward to begin staffing new fellows.

A forensic pathology fellow is a licensed medical doctor who has already completed the general pathology training and interested in sub-specializing in forensic pathology.  Approval from ACGME illustrates that the GBI ME’s Office is well respected in the country and a premier provider of service to the community.

This fellowship opportunity will be held in conjunction with Augusta State University and aid in the recruitment and retention of well-trained forensic pathologists to keep the agency up to par with the growing population of the state.  Under direct supervision of board certified forensic pathologists, the fellows will perform autopsies and postmortem examinations to determine cause and manner of death and testify in court when called upon.

The GBI is the perfect location to train future generations of forensic pathologists with the

ME’s office located in a fully accredited lab containing all the forensic disciplines.  The GBI ME’s Office provides complete forensic pathology services to 153 of Georgia’s 159 counties in deaths which qualify as coroner cases under the Georgia Death Investigation Act.  GBI’s Medical Examiner System is comprised of 13 forensic pathologists and 24 death investigation specialists.

 

GBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Habersham County, GA

State & National

North Georgia Drug Task Force and Lavonia Police Department Arrest Tennessee man for Trafficking Methamphetamine

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Lavonia, Georgia – On August 14, 2016, Travis Shelton Courtner, 33 years old, was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of Xanax (a schedule IV drug), giving false name and date of birth, and two counts of obstructing of a law enforcement officer.

Lavonia Police Department received a call of a suspicious vehicle with Tennessee license plates on the vehicle that had been running for two hours with no one in the vehicle.

The Lavonia Police Officer arrived on scene and observed a prescription pill lying in plain view inside the vehicle.  The officer encountered Courtner in the roadway who provided them with a false name.  As a result, Courtner was arrested for providing a false name and obstruction.

The North Georgia Drug Task Force was called to the scene and initiated an investigation with the Lavonia Police resulting in the seizure of approximately a 1/2 pound of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $9,000.00.  The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are possible.

The North Georgia Drug Task Force is a Multi-Jurisdictional Narcotics Task Force comprised of the following agencies: Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Lavonia Police Department, Elberton Police Department, and Hartwell Police Department. The North Georgia Drug Task Force is supervised by a supervisory agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The GBI Crime Lab Receives Synthetic Opioid Carfentanil

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Decatur, GA – Within the past week, the GBI Crime Lab’s drug identification unit received three cases from separate seizures of the synthetic opioid carfentanil. Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog used as a tranquilizer on large animals such as elephants.

It is purported to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl and suspected of playing a role in hundreds of overdoses in the Midwest part of the country this past month. It can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and very toxic in small quantities. The cases that came in the lab were from the metro Atlanta area and were all suspected to be heroin. As a result of this drug coming into the GBI Crime Lab, lab scientists have enhanced their safety protocols to protect them from the potential dangers.

Some of the changes include wearing a face mask as well as testing any case suspected to contain heroin under a ventilated hood. Officer safety is of grave concern and all officers are strongly encouraged to take extreme caution when handling any suspected opioid.

Carfentanil is not intended for human use and the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan may be effective but only after multiple doses. The public is urged to be aware of the extreme dangers of handling and consuming carfentanil.

GBI Investigating Inmate Death

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Department of Corrections are currently investigating the death of Christopher Verner, 23, an inmate at Appling Integrated Treatment Facility in Baxley, Georgia.  On Friday, August 26, Verner collapsed at the Appling ITF and was ultimately transferred to Savannah Memorial where he died August 27, 2016.  The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the autopsy and the results are pending.

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