Ellijay woman faces drug charges

  • Times-Courier

A Murphy woman was arrested last week in a large-scale distribution operation that police uncovered last month. At the same time, authorities displayed compassion in waiting to arrest 29-year-old Melissa Jean Lee, who officials say cared for her grandmother.

“We couldn’t leave grandma alone; she’s in a wheelchair and can’t really do much for herself,” Cherokee County Sheriff’s Lt. Tiffany Holland said while explaining why Lee wasn’t arrested until July 23. “Arrangements had to be made because [Lee] was her grandmother’s caretaker. That’s why there was a delay.”

Lee is charged in an investigation that began in Georgia and resulted in the arrest of three other people. Tracy Ev Shirley, 47, of Ellijay.; Miranda Kathaleen Gibson, 29, of White County; and 41-year-old Travis Bateman, of Andrews, N.C., were arrested last month and charged with several drug offenses.

Shirley and Gibson were arrested June 28 in Wolf Creek following a chase that ended with Shirley colliding with a sheriff’s vehicle and a residence. Shirley was suspected of trafficking methamphetamine and refused to be apprehended, which led to the chase. No one was injured during the crash, and the vehicles and house only sustained minor damage.

Police raided a home occupied by Bateman June 29 and found several marijuana plants, other illegal drugs and a firearm. Officials say Lee was in the house with Bateman at the time of the raid.