Task force raids home
Cops nab alleged drug dealer after monthlong investigation

COVINGTON - Officers with the joint Covington/Newton County Special Investigation Unit stormed a Covington "trap" house on Friday and took a suspected cocaine dealer to jail, completing a near monthlong investigation.

According to Covington Police Department Lt. Philip Bradford, 30-year-old Tommy Rufus Sawyer Jr. of 128 Gum Tree Trail was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and sale of cocaine.

Sawyer is being held in the Newton County Detention Center without bond.

Seized in the raid was an amount of crack cocaine totaling about $250 in street value, a bag of marijuana, digital scales that can be used in the sale of drugs, and a handgun.

Bradford said the home on Gum Tree Trail was a perfect example of what is known among drug dealers as a trap house - a temporary house used solely for the purpose of selling drugs. "There was no furniture," he said. "Two blow-up mattresses and a couple of folding chairs in the house. ... (A dealer) has a house he lives at, but he goes there to trap out his dope all day long, and then he goes home at the end of the day."

Bradford said that the SIU had been tracking drug sales at the home for about a month after receiving complaints about Sawyer up to six months ago.

"We've just been trying to work different avenues since then," he said. "Sometimes drug work goes quick, and sometimes it goes slow. Like people say, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but boy do they grind."

Colin M. Stewart can be reached at colin.stewart@rockdalecitizen.com.