Three Suspected Drug lords Arrested -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Three Suspected Drug lords Arrested

December 21, 2006

Tifton - - Three suspected drug ringleaders are behind bars tonight after officers seized marijuana, cocaine, and almost $1,000,000  from their homes and cars. 

Officers arrested 33 year old Anthony Walker, 47 year old Leonard Royster, and 23 year old Michael Kinsey for conspiracy to trafficking cocaine.

Several South Georgia law enforcement agencies teamed up for one of the biggest drug busts Sheriff Gary Vowell says Tift County has ever seen.

Officers seized guns, electronic equipment, 11 vehicles, four kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, and more than $949,000.

"These guys were very smart, knew how to do it but you play with fire long enough you're going to get burnt. These guys, because of their greed and love of the dollar bill, it finally caught up with them," Vowell says.

The three men are being held at the Tift County Sheriff's office without bond.

Some South Georgians speak out about those arrests. Many people in neighborhoods plagued by drugs want more done to fight the drug problem.

Anytime criminals are off the street, it's a breathe of fresh air for people upset about drugs in their communities. But some people we spoke with say it takes more to make sure young people don't choose the path of drugs.

Solomon Pettiford recalls his Tifton neighborhood of old.

"Used to be in the neighborhood I knew everyone that walked these streets. Not anymore."

Things have changed. People aren't as neighborly and criminals are more bold in their pursuits.

The arrests of three South Georgia men in one of Tift county's biggest drug busts comes as no surprise to him. But with the spike of drug offenses over the years, he's beginning to question why more isn't being done to prevent young men from resorting to drugs to make a quick buck.

"Wishing is fine but if you don't have anything to offer a child so his wish may come true, then you're just barking up the wrong tree as they say."

He's not alone in his thinking.

Catharine Jones feels jail time doesn't scare many dealers, but job skills and life skills need to be taught before young men choose drug dealing.

"I suggest programs as opposed to prison where they might get rehabilitation or if they have drug problems they can go into rehabilitation centers and make them responsible, teach them."

Tift County Sheriff Gary Vowell says the men arrested were the king pens and feels their capture will affect those young dealers.

"They'll see a decrease in drug traffic in their communities and neighborhoods."

Tifton resident Fred Slade says the busts are good, as long as officers work around the clock cracking these types of cases.

"We don't want this to become a politic thing where they're doing something at the beginning of the year, middle of the year and end of the year to try to get peoples' attention. This is a year round event. We have a problem."

Pettiford waits for the day it's fully resolved.

"It changes the whole scenery."  

Sheriff Vowell says the almost one million dollars seized in the bust will help provide that drug intervention and education residents are requesting.

The Tift County Sheriff's Office worked with Crisp County, Turner County, Colquitt County, the Mid-South Narcotics Task Force, the G.B.I. and several other agencies to nab the drug suspects.


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