K-9 ‘Hella’ sniffs out marijuana, LSD
Officer “Hella” of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office put her K-9 skills to work last week, assisting officers in getting alleged illegal drugs off the highways that were passing through here and Pickens County.
Reid Alexander Williams, 20, of 991 McLynn Ave. in Atlanta, was charged Feb. 12 by the sheriff’s office with possession of LSD and marijuana with intent to distribute, failure to maintain lane and possession of drug-related objects.
In a separate incident Feb. 13, Stefan Anthony Gabriel Blain, 22, of 3 Mountain Lake Drive in Blue Ridge, was charged by the East Ellijay Police Department with possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, possession of a hallucinogen with intent to distribute, possession of drug-related objects, traveling too fast for conditions, failure to maintain lane, taillight violation and failure to move over for emergency vehicles.
The drug charges in both arrests are felonies.
A “be on the lookout,” or BOLO, was issued Sunday, Feb. 12, by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office for a silver Kia Sorento SUV traveling north on Highway 515 whose driver was failing to maintain his lane at approximately 11:20 p.m.
Deputy Mitchell Massingill of the Gilmer sheriff’s office saw the vehicle swerving and pulled the driver over around 11:30 p.m. Williams, who was driving, told Massingill he knew he was weaving because he was “not paying attention to the road” and was “really tired,” according to an incident report.
“Both the driver and passenger then lit cigarettes,” Massengill said.
“I could smell a mixture of air freshener and some kind of strong spray.”
When asked, Williams stated there were no drugs in the vehicle. Deputy Frank Parks arrived on the scene, and Williams told officers he and his passenger were returning to Young Harris College from the Virginia-Highlands area of midtown Atlanta. Williams said he had not been drinking.
“Deputies then asked for consent to search the vehicle, and both occupants stated no,” according to the report.
Corporal Andy Page with K-9 Hella was then requested to assist in the investigation, and upon arrival Page also was denied consent to search. Page told Williams and the passenger if Hella “alerted” during an open-air search it would give them cause to search the vehicle, and the dog alerted.
“K-9 Hella then conducted a search of the inside of the vehicle where she alerted on a black book bag,” the release states.
Page found four LSD “stamps” and approximately five ounces of marijuana — a “clear gallon size Ziploc bag that contained approximately three smaller clear Ziploc bags” — in the book bag.
“Some of the marijuana was marked as laced with LSD,” the report states.
After a more complete search, multiple pipes, bongs and “grinders” were also located. Williams claimed the drugs and was arrested. He was released Feb. 15 on a $10,500 bond, according to a jail spokeswoman.
‘Know ... my rights’
In the early-morning incident of Monday, Feb. 13, Officer Tony Pritchett of the East Elijay Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a white Jeep Cherokee “traveling at a high rate of speed” on Highway 515 before 1 a.m.
Pritchett was finally able to catch up to the vehicle at Whitepath Road and smelled “the odor of marijuana” when he approached.
When he asked permission to search the 1998 Jeep, Blain denied and stated, “I know my constitutional rights,” according to an incident report.
Pritchett asked Page to bring Hella to the scene, and the K-9 performed an open-air search and alerted. Pritchett then conducted a search of the vehicle and found “multiple clear baggies of green leafy substance,” a set of scales, multiple drug-related smoking devices and a wrapped-up package of “dabs,” or THC wax.
Blain was released Feb. 18 on a $13,500 bond, according to a jail spokeswoman.