Putnam County Sheriff’s Lt. Harry Luke has arrested 11 people on drugselling related charges since the end of October, including one who was flying drugs into prisons via drone and had connections to drug activity in Mexico.
“If not for the general public calling and complaining of suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, we wouldn’t be able to catch these people,” Luke said. “People think we automatically know about it; but we don’t if they don’t tell us. So, when you see something happening that doesn’t look right, call me at the sheriff’s office and tell me. Also, not only does it get drugs off the streets, but when these arrests are made, we always recover a lot of stolen stuff and are able to return it to the rightful owners.”
Luke said he had investigated Bryan Lee Banner earlier this year and was planning to arrest him in August, “but the FBI told me to wait because he was he was connected to some activity they were investigating in Mexico.” When a FBI Taskforce agent notified Luke in December that the Mexico arrests had been made, Luke and other deputies executed a search warrant at Banner’s home on the 300 block of Sparta Highway in Eatonton. They reportedly seized night-vision goggles and equipment, large drones, a Marlin 22 rifle with ammunition and suppressor, and vacuum-sealed bags containing large quantities of marijuana, methamphetamine, tobacco, SD cards for cell phones and steroids.
Luke said Banner was using the night-vision goggles and drones to fly over prison fences during the nighttime and drop off the bagged items.
He said all of the items are valuable to prisoners, explaining that tobacco is popular because smoking is prohibited in prison. Cell phones are also prohibited and are hard to hide because of their size, he explained; but an SD card is much easier to conceal, so the prisoners all use the same cell phone, which they pass around to each other, but they keep their own data stored on the SD cards.
The recent arrests include:
Bryan Lee Banner, 40, and Lindsey Jo White, 33, of Sparta Highway, Eatonton, arrested Dec. 11 on charges of possession, manufacturing, distribution, etc. of controlled substances, possession of firearms by convicted felons, possession of firearm or knife during commission of crime, and unlawful possession of firearm or weapon.
Christopher James Pierson, 36, of Forest Hill Court , arrested Nov. 11 on charges relating to prescription medications, THC cartridges, marijuana, Schedule I vape pens, and THC edibles found in his kitchen during the execution of a search warrant. Luke said Pierson moved to Eatonton from Wisconsin and was importing the vape pens from California. He reportedly had been doing the same thing in Wisconsin.
Andreaus Dontee Ingram, 30, of Leisure Lane, arrested Nov. 24 for sale of cocaine and driving while license suspended. Ingram had just gotten out of prison for sale of cocaine, Luke said.
Sarah Latasha Smith, 33, of North Upson, Lexington, Ga., arrested Nov. 5 on five counts Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act including sale of heroin, sale of methamphetamine, sale of hydrocodone, sale of roxycodone, possession of methamphetamine and heroine. Luke said Smith is a “big pill dealer in Athens,” but she was making a delivery of pills in Putnam County when she was caught.
Raymond Elvis Crowe, 33, of Welch Trail, arrested Oct. 28 on VGCSA charges including sale of methamphetamine, sale of marijuana and sale of Schedule IV substance. At the time of his arrest, Crowe reportedly was currently participating in drug accountability court for a prior methamphetamine conviction. During the execution of a search warrant at his house, others were arrested on drug-related charges also, “but he was the dealer,” Luke said.
Michael Anthony Cash, 39, of Wendwood Drive, Statesboro; Bryan Christopher Dodd, 39, of Hidden Hills Circle, Greensboro; and David Zachary Sharpe, 46, of Meadows Edge Drive, Advance, N.C. all arrested Dec. 6 at the Who Cares Bar for reportedly selling cocaine, vape pens and THC edibles at the bar.
Frank Day, 56, of Old Glenwood Springs Road, was arrested Nov. 25 for the sale of hydrocodone. Luke noted that Day was a former city police officer.
Celena Hall Embry, 44, and Johnny Joe Covan, 47, both of Pine Forest Way, Commerce, arrested Nov. 28 on sale of methamphetamine and marijuana charges.