9 behind bars after South Georgia crime round-up

Updated: Dec. 7, 2020 at 1:53 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A multi-agency press conference held Monday at the Law Enforcement Center in downtown Albany announced a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) operation in the Albany-area last month had led to the capture of nine offenders, several of whom were charged with violent crimes.

The operation focused on violent repeat offenders with outstanding arrest warrants in the Albany-Dougherty County area and was conducted on Nov. 18, resulting in a total of nine arrests, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a release.

But Albany leaders didn’t do this alone.

“As a result of this operation, which was multi-agency, which was collaborative in nature, we were able to get many people off the street that do not need to be in our community. And this is a part of a very important program called Project Safe Neighborhoods,” said Chris Cohilas, the Dougherty County Commission chairperson.

Led by the GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office, the operation included members of the Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Community Supervision-Albany, Poulan Police Department, DEA Columbus Field Office, FBI Albany Field Office, U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force and the ATF Macon Field Office.

The operation was also supported by the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

“We are solely focused and completely unified on sharing information and making sure that we can make the biggest difference in the shortest period of time by getting that person out of the community for as long as possible,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

The operation is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which the U.S. attorney’s office said is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) violent crime reduction efforts. In addition to the arrest of people charged with violent crimes, other nonviolent suspects with outstanding arrest warrants in the Albany area were taken into custody.

The following Albany people were arrested during the operation and are facing state charges:

  • Mareo Jackson, 20, is charged with murder.
  • Russell Roberts, 30, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
  • Terry Burnette, 58, is charged with probation violation for manufacturing methamphetamine.
  • Jerrell Leconte Stroud, 26, is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated assault, gang participation and probation violation.
  • Javonta Frazier, 27, is charged with failure to appear for court.
  • Johnnie Fletcher, 64, is charged with shoplifting.
  • Corey Jenkins, 33, is charged with probation violation.
All three were arrested as part of the multi-agency operation.
All three were arrested as part of the multi-agency operation.(Dougherty County Jail)
All were arrested in the round-up
All were arrested in the round-up(Dougherty Co. Sheriff)

During the search for other suspects, an apparent indoor marijuana growing operation was found in the 500 block of Johnson Road in Albany. A search warrant was obtained for the home resulting in the recovery of several suspected marijuana plants and seven firearms (one shotgun, two rifles and four handguns). This investigation is ongoing.

Agents arrested two people at the residence, both were charged with state crimes:

  • Willie Ernest Robinson, 26, of Albany, is charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  • Pamela Rose Lucy Verney, 24, of Albany is charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Now off the streets and in custody, GBI Director Vic Reynolds said that it’s up to the judicial system to make sure justice is served and that people can play a role in that process.

“They need to reach out to the district attorney who’s very receptive here, they need to reach out to the United States Attorney, who is also very receptive, and share that information and say, as a community, we don’t want this person released,” said Reynolds.

And despite this small victory for the Good Life City, law enforcement said its work is not done yet.

“It is apparent that we cannot do this alone. So I’m urging people of this community to continue to be actively involved in the welfare of our city. As law enforcement covers enforcement of all crime and the people, groups and organizations to cover the prevention, intervention and reentry services and the efforts that are much needed for our current and future generations,” said Albany Police Chief Michael Persley.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said the DOJ’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.

Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The GBI Southwestern Regional Drug Enforcement Office is in Albany and services 42 counties in Southwest Georgia. The office is the collaborative effort between the GBI, Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police Department, Americus Police Department, Worth County Sheriff’s Office and Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office.

“All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law,” the U.S. Attorney’s for the Middle District of Georgia said in a release.

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