An Albany restaurant owner is busted trying to buy 20-pounds of marijuana from undercover drug agents.
Investigators describe 34-year old Marty Boatwright as an upper level drug trafficker.
He's one of two men arrested in this sting. His third arrest for trafficking marijuana.
The investigation involved several agencies, including N-C-I-S from the Marine Base.
Marty Boatwright was arrested in July 2009 in Lee County for trafficking 40 pounds of marijuana. In 2010 he was arrested on marijuana charges in Dooly County. He was out on bond yesterday, when he and another Albany man tried to buy 20 pounds of pot.
This is the nine thousand dollars in 100's, 50's, and 20's that 34 year old Marty Boatwright of Lee County and 30 year old Eric Williams of Albany used to try to buy 20 pounds of marijuana. But it was drug agents they were dealing with.
Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith said "It happened so quickly, that I don't think they even realized what was going on."
Lee County Sheriff's Investigators got the tip the two wanted to make the big buy, but Boatwright wanted to do the deal at the busy Lowe's parking lot in Americus. The Albany Dougherty Drug Unit, Sumter County Sheriff's Office and Americus Police all joined in to coordinate the bust.
Sheriff Smith said "You just try to plan this stuff to where nobody gets hurt. These guys did an outstanding job making sure that didn't happen."
N.C.I.S. Investigators from the Marine Base were credited with playing an invaluable part in this bust, but drug agents would not say how this dope deal was tied to the base.
ADDU Commander Major Bill Berry said "Because the investigation is still going on, I'm not going to disclose what parts they played."
Last night and today Boatwright's Lee County home on Summerfield Drive and his restaurant, Extreme Wings on Oakridge Drive, and a storage unit were all searched by drug agents.
Berry said "Look at assets. Look at transactions, phones. Any kind of documentation. It's more of a documentation search rather than looking for more drugs."
Investigators call this bust an interruption of a substantial drug trafficking network, after Boatwright's third drug arrest since July 2009.
Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals said "Maybe the courts will hold onto him a while longer this time, since it's not his first offense."
These law enforcers all agree that large amounts of drugs are moving from Atlanta to South Georgia through their communities.
Sheriff Rachals said "I believe it's going to get worse on 19 and on 82. It's just a matter of getting the proper amount of people out there, and get it off the streets."
Law enforcers say this dope would have a street value of $90,000, and would be for sale on South Georgia streets tonight if they had not made this bust.
Major Berry said drug agents seized financial records from the Extreme Wings restaurant this afternoon during their search, but they found no drugs or illegal materials there or at the storage unit.
Thursday night Boatwright and Williams are being held in the Sumter County law enforcement center as the investigation continues.
Investigators say they could make more arrests.
Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.
News release from the Sumter Co. Sheriff's Office-
On Wednesday, Eric Cortez Williams and Marty Homer Boatwright were arrested in the Americus Lowe's Parking lot, culminating in a multiple agency investigation resulting in the seizure of 20 pounds of marijuana.
Investigators with the Sumter County S. O. and Americus P. D. assisted the following agencies in this case that spanned over 2½ years: Albany Dougherty Drug Unit, Dougherty County District Attorneys Office, Lee County S. O., DEA, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Section.
Also seized at the time of the arrests was a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe, and over $9,000.00. Boatwright was out on bond at the time of his arrest from Lee County Georgia, related to a 2009 drug trafficking case.
Both Boatwright and Williams are being housed at the Sumter County LEC pending these charges in the Sumter County case. The charges at this time are Trafficking in Marijuana and use of a communications device to facilitate a felony.
Boatwright is identified by authorities as an upper level drug trafficker, and authorities believe that his arrest will interrupt a substantial drug trafficking network operating within the southwest Georgia area.
Shortly after the arrests of Boatwright and Williams in Americus, authorities with Lee County S. O. executed a search warrant at Boatwright's residence in Lee County Georgia. Additional evidence was seized at the home that will be utilized in the prosecution of this case.
Sheriff Pete Smith would like to extend his appreciation for the hard work and cooperation by all agencies involved which led to these arrests. Sheriff Smith attributes the success of this investigation to the trust and communication efforts among the adjoining state, federal, and local agencies pulling together to achieve a successful common goal.
Smith points out that these multi-agency investigations are the key to not only making arrests on this level, but to successfully prosecuting these cases.